Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

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Trash as a resource

Since last year, trash is not as highly subsidized as it was before. It was a favor to no one to hide the disaster we are leaving behind by an inefficient and obsolete waste management system. Now that we have a better idea of the real cost of trash, and where we are standing, a step needs to be taken forward, because we cannot simply stand in the same spot while prices go up and pollution of the land increases.

Forest Park currently has a patronizingly unfair and inefficient waste management system that follows a strange “all you can waste” buffet approach to trash. While there is some recycling and yard waste collection going on, people who recycle and compost are subsidizing the waste of their neighbors through the current flat rate system. Water bills are not handled this way. People pay for water depending on their amount of usage. You don’t subsidize your neighbor running his lawn sprinkler all day or filling her pond.

The good news is that over the past 60 years, thousands of communities all over the U.S. have shifted to a new system that is fair, economically sound, and environmentally sustainable. They treat waste management as resource management, by adopting the “pay as you throw” program (www.epa.gov/payt or go to www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/payt/intro.htm). According to the EPA website, seven states already have more than half or their whole population in PAYT programs.

PAYT is also known as unit pricing or variable rate pricing, and treats trash, recycling and composting services just like any other utility bill, while creating a direct economic incentive to generate less waste. According to the EPA, most communities in PAYT plans charge a fee for each bag of waste generated, or charge based on the size of the waste bin. Some even charge based on the weight of the trash. Seniors and residents with special needs could pay a lower rate. All in all, PAYT gives people direct control over their costs.

Forest Parkers should be treated like responsible citizens. With landfill costs soaring and the threat of even higher bills in the future, it is time to move forward and create a fair sustainable system for Forest Park. Waste management must be treated like any other utility. Simply put: pay for what you waste.

Julieta Aguilera
Forest Park

Opening day approaches

The Forest Park Little League would like to thank all those that attended our registration/spaghetti dinner Friday, Feb. 29. We would like to thank Bev Thompson for allowing us the use of the Community Center for our successful evening. We also thank the great kitchen team who cooked and served the food, and they are: Caroline Eibenberger, Bridget Dowdle, Sue Pyan, Lydia Villanueva, and Mikey Fonseco. Our secret sauce was created by Connie Custardo.

Two of our team sponsors, Ed’s Way and Tan Travel, also generously contributed to our event. Special thanks goes to John Tricoci, his sister and brother-in-law Ann Marie and Joe (owners of Freddy’s Pizzeria in Cicero) who donated the pasta, homemade meatballs, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. It is because of these volunteers and businesses that we were able to have a successful fundraiser.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the opening day ceremonies on April 26, starting at noon.

Forest Park Little League Board
Forest Park

Property value appeals

Dear owners of homes, condominiums, townhouses, apartment buildings and businesses in Oak Park, River Forest and Proviso Township:

The Cook County Board of Review recently announced that they have reopened dates for filing assessment appeals throughout the county including Oak Park, River Forest and Proviso Townships. The window for this opportunity is from Monday, March 17 through Monday, March 31.

If you feel your assessment is too high, you may either get a complaint form at the Board of Review downtown office or, more conveniently, at Maybrook Court in Maywood, 1500 Maywood Drive, Room 82. A lawyer is not required to file this appeal.

Because many property owners believe that their assessments are too high or are in risk of foreclosure, this reopening of assessments by the Cook County Board of Review is especially welcome. I thank commissioners Larry Rogers, Brendan Houlihan and Joseph Berrios for providing the leadership for the reassessment opportunity.

Please take advantage of this short but significant window of opportunity. If you have questions or concerns regarding this matter, please call my district office at (708) 615-1747.

Karen A. Yarbrough
State Representative, 7th District

Safer traffic management

In light of the discussion of traffic congestion and pedestrian safety along Madison Street, I feel strongly that any study needs to look closely at the stretch of Madison between Circle and Beloit, especially near the Constitution Court parking lot. There are no stop signs or stoplights anywhere on Madison between Desplaines and Circle, however, there is almost always a teeming flow of pedestrians moving down and across the street in this very busy corridor, especially in the evening and on weekends. Yet vehicles have no requirement to slow at any point in this long stretch of Forest Park businesses. Might possibly some intermediate stop signs in this area relieve the traffic light load at Circle and Madison?

Since my family moved to Forest Park from San Francisco a few years ago, I have been consistently shocked by the treatment of pedestrians by motorists in this area of Madison Street. I have witnessed time and again near-misses and dismissive behavior by cars. Pushing our young daughter in the stroller, motorists consistently blow by us with no regard when we’re attempting to cross the street. This past Saturday, I witnessed a family of four nearly mowed down when a quick-moving car swerved onto the sidewalk and screeched to a stop to avoid a van turning left into the Constitution Court lot. And most obvious of all, let we not forget the death of 52-year-old pedestrian Abderrahmane Lamrabet last January at the hands of a hit-and-run driver in this very location.

Business along Madison Street has grown significantly over the past several years. Forest Park needs to grow the traffic standards along with it and recognize the personal safety of pedestrians is of the utmost importance to the community.

Ryan O’Halloran
Forest Park

Inaccurate statement

In Mark Hosty’s letter of March 12, he asserted that Mary Kay Minaghan was a founding member of Citizens United in Forest Park. To set the record straight, she was not.

Try as hard as I may, I see absolutely no connection between CUinFP, your taxes, stoplights or the Forest Park Review.

In the future, for accurate information about the organization, please contact us through our website, cuinfp.org.

Steven Backman
President, Citizens United in Forest Park