The worst card you can draw in Monopoly is the yellow one that assesses you for street repairs. I’ve seen high rollers with hotels and houses forced to remove them and mortgage their properties to pay the assessment. Here in Forest Park, though, we are completing two major street repairs at little cost to homeowners.
First, we had a crew re-do the bricks on Filmore Street. Village Administrator Tim Gillian said that residents had been complaining that the “depressions” in the century-old surface were getting more “extreme.”
Some of these concerns came up in a casual conversation between my neighbors, Norm Hopp and Commissioner Rory Hoskins. Norm’s a long-time Forest Parker, who recalled Filmore residents being polled 25 years ago about whether the bricks should be paved over. They voted to keep it quaint. Norm’s wife, Ruth, was glad they did, because the cars rumbling down Filmore make it sound like she lives “in the country.”
After plans were drawn up for Filmore, the problem areas were circled in white paint and a contractor dug up the bricks with a forklift. A fresh bed of fine gravel was deposited and the bricks were put back. Gillian said it was very important that we preserved the brick surface, rather than burying it under blacktop. For less than $11,000, Filmore was smoothened without losing its aesthetics.
The second project cost us even less. Greenburg Road runs through Jewish cemeteries, connecting Des Plaines with Circle. Mary Flanagan described it as a major artery for residents living on Forest Park’s “Island,” providing a handy shortcut for those heading south by southwest. But, what’s the use of a shortcut that wrecks your suspension?
Flanagan said that the “gullies” in Greenburg’s pavement made it virtually impassable by car and she couldn’t even bike down it anymore. Several years ago, she brought the road’s appalling condition to the attention of a village official. He dismissed the idea of repaving Greenburg because only south siders used it.
Tim Gillian, fortunately, did not have the same attitude. He submitted the project to State Senator Kimberly Lightford’s emergency street repair fund and the village received a $350,000 grant to restore Greenburg. He also negotiated with cemetery owners to have the north-south leg of the shortcut, Jacob Road, repaved.
Soon, motorists, like Flanagan and her very excited island neighbors, will be able to skirt congestion on Cermak and Roosevelt for a smooth trip to and from 16th and Circle.
I’m thankful our leaders were responsive to residents on these projects and kept the costs down. I’m also glad we preserved those pavers. They’re as strong as steel and slow down speeders.
By the way, that card assesses players at $40 per house, while these street projects cost us about a dollar per house. And that’s not Monopoly money.