The Park District of Forest Park will host a town hall meeting Thursday night at its 7501 Harrison St. campus to discuss the progress of its longstanding plans to purchase the neighboring Roos property.
Park district officials, alongside attorneys who have worked with them as the park district has tried to purchase the Roos, will be present, Park Director Larry Piekarz said. They’ll be there to address questions and concerns from the public.
Piekarz said the park district called the meeting because it wants to keep people abreast of what’s happening with the Roos, part of which, could be purchased with taxpayer dollars.
“What we’re trying to do is get everybody there to answer these questions,” Piekarz said. He added that the town hall will only be an informational event, as nothing significant has happened recently.
“There isn’t going to be a big announcement,” he said.
Currently, the park district is playing a waiting game. The owner of the building (an LLC owned, in part, by failed developer Alex Troyanovsky) owes Harris Bank, the mortgage holder, a substantial amount of money, and the two parties are currently sorting out the legal melee, Piekarz said. Until this happens, the park district cannot move forward with a purchase.
The park district has about $650,000 in the bank as part of the 2010 referendum that saw residents’ taxes increase by 12 cents for every $100 of assessed property value. Before it could collect that money, though, the Illinois General Assembly had to pass quick-fix legislation to allow the park district to actually collect the money, because it did not account for the increased revenue when it submitted its levy to the Cook County clerk.
The park district envisions eventually reconstructing the building (once the home of Roos Cedar Chest company) and making it a multi-use complex, a project that could have a $10 million price tag, park board member Cathy McDermott told the Forest Park Review, in March.
Any project that follows the park district’s purchase, if that happens, will likely be funded with both tax dollars and grant money, Piekarz said.
If, for some reason, the park district is unable to purchase the Roos, Piekarz said that he was certain the money would be abated to residents, even though the park district is not legally bound to do so.
“The board promised the people,” Piekarz said. “That money is earmarked.”
Thursday’s meeting is at the park district’s campus, at 7501 Harrison St., on the 2nd floor. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.