Consultants hired to draft plans for the Army Reserve Base in Forest Park discussed a variety of options for reshaping the parcel of property at 7402 Roosevelt Rd. at a public meeting at village hall, Monday night.

Representatives from Wills Burke Kelsey Associates and Land Vision, Inc. – the two firms hired to hatch plans – presented preliminary findings to village officials including  members of the village board, the planning commission and the zoning board of appeals; and a small audience.

The information shared by Jo Ellen Charlton, of Wills Burke, and Chuck Hanlon, of Land Vision is all speculative right now. The village hired the firms to come up with a plan for the seven acre property, should the federal government decide to sell it, which it does not presently intend to do.

Some of what was mentioned included what focus the village would want to take: would the area be open for commercial or hospitality development, for instance.

Officials also talked about changing the streetscape, too, by making it more pedestrian friendly. And there was discussion about incorporating the neighboring U.S. Postal Service’s bulk mailing center into overall plans, should, it, too, become available.

Commissioner Chris Harris said he would like to see some green space, or a private recreational area that could be rented out.

Mayor Anthony Calderone noted, during comment, that this is all long-term planning, right now.

This was the first of several meetings that consultants will be holding on the topic. The next meeting has not been scheduled yet, but the stated intent of the planners is to gather more input from the public on what could be done.  

Five running for 7th District state rep.

As of press time Tuesday, a total of five candidates had filed paperwork to run for the state’s 7th District House seat, in the March primary.

The late arrivals include Forest Park Village Commissioner Rory Hoskins, and Westchester resident Sherby Miller.

Other candidates include: Princess Dempsey, a Proviso activist; Beyonca Johnson, who owns a “credit repair” company; and Chris Welch, the clout-heavy and controversial president of Proviso District 209 high schools.

Thus far, Welch’s fundraising efforts have exceeded his opponents’ by tens of thousands of dollars. Welch’s campaign committee had $58,225 in its war chest at the end of the last filing period, in September, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Much of that money has come from politicians at the local, state and county level, including a $500 donation from Mayor Anthony Calderone. 

Hoskins is in a distant second. When he filed a quarterly report, on Sept. 30, his campaign committee had $3,549. On Nov. 11, he reported receiving an additional $4,000, according to the state board of elections.

Half of that money came from Forest Park residents Jon Kubricht and Mary Rueda. $2,000 also came from a woman with a Colorado address.

Miller and Dempsey have very little campaign cash, in comparison. Miller’s most recent report says her committee has only received one donation for $1,000. Dempsey has raised a cumulative $830, according to her last campaign finance report.

A campaign committee for Johnson could not be found on the state board of elections’ website.

-Nick Moroni