It appears that momentum for building a new YMCA in Forest Park is finally snowballing, at least from an administrative standpoint. A roughly five-year negotiation process between the village, the West Cook YMCA and an adjacent landowner to the proposed site is beginning to bump into agreed upon deadlines, thus forcing a little more urgency. We hope the commissioners can continue that momentum this month and vote to finalize the latest round of agreements.
For all the good that a multi-million dollar recreation facility would bring to the community, this project has not been without its controversies. Most notably-and as reported in this newspaper-the appraisals used as the basis of the village’s selling price for land it intends to transfer to the Y so that a gem can be constructed was a bit sketchy. However, this point has been duly noted and should not hang like a black cloud over the proposal. The YMCA is a good project and it deserves the full support of the community.
Gaining widespread support for the development is something that YMCA and village officials can work on together. The oddly contentious and protracted nature of the negotiations all these years needs to be put in the rear view mirror. If the YMCA is to have success raising some $12 million in such a dour economy, the parties responsible for the project need to be unified in their enthusiasm. We should think that excitement shouldn’t be hard to muster.
According to the plans, the new facility would include indoor swimming pools, an elaborate gym, basketball courts, outdoor playing fields, conference rooms, licensed daycare and a host of other amenities. All of this, too, would be packaged in a more energy efficient and aesthetically attractive building than what currently exists on Marion Street in Oak Park.
To top it off, Forest Park residents will get a discount on their membership fees when the facility opens. Let the good will begin.
Are you a believer?
It’s not everyday that a newspaper writes about flying saucers and bright lights in the sky, but in Illinois, apparently, you may be more likely to come across such reports than in other states. During a recent meeting of the Illinois Mutual UFO Network, Sam Maranto, the group’s president, described our Midwestern sky as something of a hotbed for such unexplained phenomena. Maranto was giving a presentation at our public library on a series of 2004 sightings in a neighborhood a few miles south of here. Curiosity got the best of us and we covered it. The story is on page 7.
We’re not prepared to issue any explanation for what people here and across the globe have reportedly seen, but we do think the library deserves credit for hosting such an unusual presentation. Frankly, it was fun. And regardless of whether you consider yourself a believer, it doesn’t hurt to listen to an informative and impassioned presentation. Keeping our minds open to all the possibilities isn’t a bad idea, regardless of the subject.