Updated Sept. 11, 2012 – 2:55 p.m.
The village agreed to move forward with the Forest Park Plan Commission’s recommendation of Images Inc., of Wheaton, as the vendor who will craft the new Village Comprehensive Plan.
The plan commission had voted to approve the recommendation on Sept. 4.
Paul Barbahen of the advisory commission said both Images Inc. and competitor Tesko Associates of Evanston were “very well qualified” to write the plan, for which they’ll be paid $100,000 from a HUD grant.
Barbahen said on Sept. 4 he had called village managers and employees who had worked with both companies and received good reviews from both.
“One of the issues is what Commissioner Mannix called the ‘squeaky wheels,’ what I like to call ‘the usual suspects.’ I think he means how do you bring other people into the process besides the normal people who appear at the [village council] meetings?”
Images Inc., whose website slogan is “context sensitive solutions,” devoted a large part of their presentation to reaching voices who might not otherwise be heard, such as high school students, “the barber” and renters. The latter make up 52 percent of Forest Park’s population.
Barbahen came to the conclusion that other towns had a hard time getting people involved.
“That is simply the reality,” said Barbahan, noting that he attended nine meetings involving the Roos project “because I lived down the street. And I was the usual suspect. Once the issue was resolved, I did not go to meetings for projects on the other side of town.”
Although the village voted to accept the recommendation, they will still need to hammer out a contract and Commissioner Mark Hosty said it should include elements from the competing Teska proposal. One main piece of the Teska plan proposed development of a large office building that would take advantage of Forest Park’s transportation hubs.
Mark Hosty, finance commissioner, apologized for the four-month delay in releasing the village finance report and said it was his fault, and that the finance office was waiting to make sure that independent audit numbers were correct.
Hosty complained about a letter to the editor [Missing finance reports a serious issue 09/05] written by Commissioner Rory Hoskins, and criticized the former finance commissioner. “I found the letter cowardly and politically minded,” he snapped. “If you didn’t do a good job doing it yourself don’t try to tell other people how to do it.”