Forest Park rightly gets praised for the streetscaping redo of Madison Street that played a vital role in the resurgence of the street over the past 15 years. Together with smart public and private investments in key properties and businesses, Madison Street has become a model for older downtowns.
Now the village is getting ready to tackle the orphan segment of Madison Street – Desplaines Avenue to Van Buren – that was never touched by the first round of improvements and looks like it.
There are multiple reasons west Madison has taken a lesser focus. Chief among them is that the opposite sides of the street land in different towns. The south side is Forest Park, the north side is River Forest. While Forest Park was focused on the rest of Madison, River Forest was focused on commercial development along Lake Street.
Now, under the leadership of Mayor Anthony Calderone a joint agreement was reached with River Forest to upgrade west Madison. Monday night the village council inked an intergovernmental pact with River Forest, a strong example of the type of shared efforts we need to see among local governments.
As it has throughout this project – including the Springfield lobbying that landed $1.3 million in state grants — Forest Park will continue to lead the construction phase of this re-do. And while this strip needs the new lighting, planters and crosswalks that the project will bring, we’d also urge leaders in both towns to bring resources that focus on upgrading and improving the businesses along this street.