The Forest Park Comprehensive Plan has seemingly been dormant since July, when a workshop was held by planners Images Inc. with 17 “stakeholders” who identified “challenges and benefits” for the village and then set “goals and objectives.”
The results were published in a report on the pictureforestpark.net website in mid-July.
Now members of the village council and Forest Park Plan Commission will also take part in the same workshops at an open-to-the-public session on Monday, Nov. 4, Village Administrator Tim Gillian said.
“This meeting will be a carbon copy of the first meeting of the steering committee,” Gillian said. “We will go through the same exercises the members of the steering committee group went through.”
Gillian said he attended the July workshop along with Mayor Anthony Calderone and village staff. “But we did our best to stay out of the workshop,” Gillian said.
The comprehensive plan is paid for by a Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The West Cook County Housing Collaborative includes Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and Oak Park. Administered by the village of Oak Park, the $3.2 million grant includes $100,000 for Forest Park to craft a comprehensive plan. Wheaton-based Images Inc. won the bid to develop the plan in September 2012.
The last plan crafted by the village was finished in 2001 and can be seen on the village website.
Village terminology has changed for the plan, which is now referred to on official documents as the “Comprehensive Plan Rewrite.” But Gillian said the old plan is so out of date, it’s really like a complete overhaul.
“Technically it’s considered an update,” Gillian said, “but in the amount of years that have passed, there have been changes to so many things: housing trends, economic trends, transportation. It’s probably a fallacy to consider it an update.”
The pictureforestpark.com website has a place-holder page that says “coming soon” where the community survey will be.
Commissioner Chris Harris has expressed frustration that no community survey has been forthcoming since February 2012, when it was initially proposed as a way to gauge community desires for the use of the seven-acre, village-owned Altenheim parcel.
Calderone cooled to the idea of a village-administered survey and suggested it be folded into the comprehensive plan process.
“I supported Images, Inc. as the choice for the comprehensive plan job because they sold me on community involvement,” Harris emailed. “I would really like to see more outreach and soon.”
When asked, Gillian said the village is still committed to a community survey.
“There’s no way that [the survey] is not going to happen,” Gillian said. “There’s absolutely going to be a full-scale survey.
He said Images, Inc. had told the village staff about new survey tools that he characterized as “exciting.”
“There are interesting new advances in survey technology and we’ll do our best to employ them here,” Gillian added.
The workshop Nov. 4 will take place in the basement of village hall at 7 p.m.