Fenwick High School may be presenting a letter of intent to the village of Forest Park to buy a large portion of the village-owned Altenheim property “within the next couple of weeks,” said Development Director RJ McMahon. “We are hoping to frame the conversation [between Fenwick and the village],” he said.
The private Oak Park-based Catholic high school said in February it was interested in the property either for sports fields or a stadium. Gene Nudo, the new football coach hired from arena football club Chicago Rush, in February called a stadium a “momentum builder” for his team, and said, “a sports complex excites me.” He declined to comment on the current proposal.
At a town hall in February, Chris Harris, commissioner of public works, Mayor Anthony Calderone and other commissioners agreed to conduct a survey of residents to get input from Forest Parkers before selling the Altenheim property.
Even if Fenwick were to make an offer, that survey will still take place, said Village Administrator Tim Gillian. “We would sit on whatever Fenwick gives us until the survey is completed,” he said. The new village Comprehensive Plan involves getting citizen input for the use of the Altenheim property and then using that as a guide, he said.
Harris was skeptical that Fenwick would actually commit, because the process has been so slow until now. “We’ve heard that they would make an offer before,” he said. “I’ve heard that many times over the past two years.”
At the Village Council meeting Monday, commissioners expressed different visions for the Altenheim property.
“My goal is to market that property and sell the property in back to use the profit to improve the front area [the Grove], build a bandshell and fountains,” said Commissioner Mark Hosty. Harris has proposed a sculpture garden with walking paths for the entire 8 acre parcel.
Whatever the village decides, Gillian insists they will not be rushed by any offer from Fenwick.
“Fenwick’s been without playing fields for a long time. I expect they can wait until this process is over.”