Village says it will solve rental woes. Again?

The dictionary defines woe as “grievous distress, affliction, or trouble: His woe was almost beyond description.” ‘Beyond description’ is exactly right.

In the late ’80s, Mayor Popelka noted some rental woes in the village, held a few landlord meetings where the small multi-unit owners showed up, but not the big guys, presented no documentation of the problem and offered no legal solutions. Since our housing stock hadn’t changed much, I’m guessing the woe was less with renters per se than with demographic changes. We named our woe “Us vs. Them.” Yeah, we did.

In the late ’90s, our woes were the talk of the town. We hired Tom Murphy to run the building department and cheerlead solutions, had a woeful election, adopted a minority position Comprehensive Plan and silently downsized the whole damn town to solve our woes. We named our woes “overcrowding,” and then proceeded to build a jillion condos.

It is the late ’00s and, apparently, the woes are still with us. Per this newspaper, the village is now working on a police solution to our woes, via the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. The Review thinks this is a great idea and Gillian “should grab this bull by the horns.” Bull, indeed. Our woes are now called “reducing crime.”

In the past 20 years our government has made absolutely no effort to document, quantify or define our so-called rental woes, so predictably our solutions have been utter failures. Twenty-plus years of anecdotes and whispers are not evidence.

Please, what is the problem?

Are there significantly more alleged criminals living in rentals than owner occupied? Are there three or 30? Data, please. What type of rental buildings do these criminals reside in? Data, please. How will you identify and communicate with landlords without a current database? A plan, please. What is an illegal apartment vs. a legal non-conforming apartment? Clarification, please. Why weren’t most illegal apartments eliminated via village inspections before property sale? Accountability, please. Will you also be counseling/enforcing those safety and maintenance standards for owner-occupied properties? Safety for all, please. Will your mandate include the landlord/owners of single-family homes and condos? Consistency, please. Don’t you think the above questions should be answered before a solution is designed?

Stop the 20 years of mind-numbingly stupid, ineffective wankery that passes for housing policy. Please. Gather your data, quantify and define the problem, present it to the community and then, only then, attempt to create a proper solution to our woes.

Sharon Daly
Forest Park

Support for the arts

The Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development’s third annual Arts Fest sponsored by Boulevard Fine Art and Custom Framing was a huge success. Music filled the air as art lovers throughout the Chicagoland area browsed artist’s booths and shopped Madison Street last Saturday and Sunday.

Sponsored by Forest Park National Bank and Trust Co., Wonder Works Museum and Chris Guillen Photography, the children’s area entertained kids and adults alike with the community art project, the wonderful magic of Dennis Watkins, a craft workshop with Pocket Palz artist Luisa Castellanos and stilt walker Jason Kollum.

On behalf of the chamber, we’d like to thank participants, volunteers and the following sponsors and supporters for making this event a reality: Presenting sponsor Boulevard Fine Art and Custom Framing; Platinum sponsors, Renewal by Anderson, Forest Park National Bank and Trust Co., RGL Marketing for the Arts, Todd and Holland Tea Merchants and WDBC; Gold sponsors, Riveredge Hospital, Chicago Gallery News, Ready Made Magazine, Yelp, Chiro One, and Borders Books; Arts Fest sponsors Altenheim in the Park, American Courier Service, At Work Design, the Buzz Café, Blue Cab, Byron’s Hot Dogs, Caffé De Luca, Casa De Puros, Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore, Consolidated Auto, Deedee and Edee, Flavour Cooking School, Forest Printing, Harlem Art Galleries, Healy’s Westside, Heels, Louie’s Grill, McAdam Landscaping, Marion Street Cheese Market, Neighbors Magazine, Nona Rutter, Remax in the Village, the Forest Park Review, Shanahan’s, St John’s, Team Blonde, Two Fish Art Glass, the Village Players and West Cook YMCA.

We’d also like to acknowledge the continued support of the village of Forest Park for this and all chamber events, as well as Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor for the artists’ breakfast.

David Manola, Janet Todd, Chris Guillen,
Mary Jo O’Hearn, Roz Long (producer),
David Boylan (logistics director)
Arts Fest Committee

YMCA is committed

The West Cook YMCA’s dream is alive and well. Visualize with me where we will be in October 2016.

The Games are over. We savor memories of those glorious days when the whole world enjoyed magnificent venues, spectacular views, and memorable Olympic experiences.

Here in the west suburbs, a new West Cook YMCA, open now for several years, is where people of all ages come from dawn to well into the night – infants in daycare, moms and their tots, young children after school, high school students, middle age families and seniors. Some come to exercise, swim or spin. All come to the YMCA to improve their mind, body and spirit.

No longer bound to a single facility, scores of relevant West Cook YMCA programs are offered in collaboration with schools, park districts, churches, senior centers, health care facilities and higher educational institutions in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and in the seven other west suburban communities that we serve.

Whether enrolled in a fun, fitness or educational program, all who come to the YMCA are nurtured in the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Our goal is to transform the world, one person at a time.

The West Cook YMCA board’s decision last week, to rescind its contract with the village of Forest Park to purchase a vacant 7-acre site, was reached after a thorough analysis of the realities of today’s economy and our own circumstances. We remain committed to securing funds and creating a right-sized facility on an alternative site in the west suburbs that will be the centerpiece for scores of services and programs, either on site or in collaboration with partners, to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities.

Geri McLauchlan
Chairman, West Cook YMCA Board of Directors

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and phone number for authorization purposes only. The Review will not publish phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing for space and content purposes and typically will be printed in the order they are received. While the Review does not impose a word limit, we encourage comments be held to 300 words.

Letters to the editor can be received by e-mail at, or by mail to Forest Park Review, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, Ill., 60302.