The Zoning Board of Appeals met at village hall on Monday night for a presentation by representatives of the Chicago Metropolitain Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and the Metropolitan Planning Council discussing their “Homes for a Changing Region” initiative.

Through discussions with local government and research conducted by these organizations, an area of Forest Park has been identified for potential future development. That area is the land around the CTA blue line station on Desplaines Avenue.

They estimate that the land can be redeveloped to hold 325 new housing units to help deal with a predicted increase of 1,000 to 2,000 households over the next few decades, according to Drew Williams Clark, of CMAP.

Clark said that the area was chosen because it is walkable, transit friendly, it has a diverse housing stock, and there are independent retail and restaurant options nearby, on Madison Street. 

Mayor Anthony Calderone called the location his top choice. He said that the collaboration will prove to be very beneficial in bringing various stakeholders together to discuss the future of Forest Park.

Their work with the over four municipalities in the West Cook County Housing Collaborative, has focused moreso on how transportation affects the community, said Allison Milld, of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. 

The next step will be a public workshop on Sept. 14, where Forest Park residents will be invited to discuss how the land should be redeveloped. There will be tables set up with large maps of the proposed location. Residents will be given plastic chips representing different land uses – such as multi-housing or retail – that can be placed on the map to determine what developments they would like to see.

At the end of the workshop, the maps will be combined in an effort to illustrate public opinion. CMAP will then begin working on a report with concrete recommendations which policies should be implemented over the next 30 years to accommodate any future planning.

“The point of this exercise is to plan way out in the future,” Calderone said.