Larry Piekarz, the director of the park district, broke bread recently with Alex Troyanovsky. Troyanovsky, locally nicknamed “The Russian,” has tried and failed to rehab the so-called Roos building into what would have been one of the largest housing developments in Forest Park. Over lunch they stated their interest in negotiating to transfer the Roos to the park, giving the community some much needed green space and giving Troyanovsky some financial relief.


But now it’s time for the park to bring in someone with experience in such things. Piekarz and the members of his board run a heck of a park, but negotiating multimillion dollar deals amid looming foreclosures and liens is a whole other ball of wax.

It is no secret that the park is fully extended in terms of borrowing, and there isn’t a pile of money sitting in a corner somewhere that can be shoveled in Troyanovsky’s direction. Money – or the lack thereof – is an obvious hiccup that could prevent the park district from landing this prized parcel at the corner of Harrison and Circle. Everything else, however, seems to be leaning in their favor.

New liens and foreclosures are being filed against Troyanovsky and his various properties in the Chicago area. He needs money and he needs to unload his debt.

By all accounts, the park district has the support from the community to make a play for this property. Village council members, too, have said they like the idea. Over the weekend, while Mayor Anthony Calderone was celebrating the16-inch softball museum, he suggested the village might be willing to partner with the parks if need be.

Piekarz has also been busy bending the ears of state and federal officials, trying to secure whatever money might be available.

All of these conditions favor the park, but good intentions don’t sign contracts. The park and the community deserve someone in their corner who can make this as affordable as possible.

What hasn’t been mentioned yet is that the park may find itself negotiating with a bank more than with Troyanovsky. Yes, he’s an important piece of the puzzle and his willingness to go along is helpful, but Amcore Bank is on the hook for an enormous loan. Amcore has no interest in Forest Park and is doing its damnedest not to be taken over by the federal government. Most certainly, the bank will be eager to get something for this property rather than sit on a pile of worthless paper.

This is a big opportunity for Forest Park with big money and big players. Let’s make sure we’re up to the task.