Green space, especially in urban and suburban settings, carries a real premium. It breaks up the gray monotony of pavement and adds to the overall quality of life within a community. Children and pet owners are some of a park’s most obvious visitors, but most anyone can enjoy strolling barefoot in the grass or lounging in the sun with a book.
Forest Park residents are especially fortunate to have so much green space in such a bustling little ‘burb. In addition to the beautifully maintained Park District facilities on Harrison Street, there are a handful of municipal parks scattered through town. At one such park the village just installed a new fence that surrounds the playground equipment there, making the area safer for children. The fence is also a much more attractive barrier than the chain link monstrosity that was removed last year, or the nylon eyesore that took its place for a number of months. Additional improvements are slated for that park and the others in town.
Careful readers will notice that so far we’ve not referred to this lovely little jewel with the new fence by any particular name. That is because none of the parks owned by the village have names.
Since the various parks are going to be the focus of so much attention this year, perhaps now would be a good time to call them something. Longtime residents commonly refer to the park at Circle and Randolph streets as “north park” and it seems more often than not that people understand which park is meant by this. But this colloquial tag is a handle that really only works for those already familiar with the parks we have in town.
Oddly enough, there’s a small monument at the southwest corner of this unnamed park that dedicates the space to several volunteers who helped make it a reality. Their names are etched in the stone. Meanwhile, the park is without an identity.
Choosing a name for any of the anonymous parks in the village could be done in a number of ways. A contest that invites ideas from residents and school children could be held, or the village could lean on historical information and recognize significant figures from years past. Heck, an alphabetical listing – Park A, Park B – would be more useful in discriminating one site from another than having no names at all.
The Recreation Board in Forest Park, an advisory group to the council that initiated the fencing improvements long ago, would likely be charged with organizing such an effort. With a little support from the mayor’s office the push to name the parks could be as grandiose or as finite as desired. Yes, with the anticipated emphasis on beautification the time has come to name the parks. If nothing else, it will help work crews identify which site they’re supposed to be at.