It is Thanksgiving, the day American optimism requires us to stop and take note of all that is right in our lives and community. In Forest Park that list is long:
We have a public library that increasingly emphasizes the public. Our teens, goofy and annoying as they can sometimes be, are welcome at the library. Space is set aside for them, programs are created for them. When the library in neighboring Maywood was briefly closed, the impulse in Forest Park was to open our doors because everyone needs access to a public library. Well done.
The Roos is flattened. Sure is a different view as one comes over the Circle bridge. Park leaders need to go hard after this singular opportunity to grow the park. Villagers bought in with the tax hike years back. The park district seeks genuine community involvement in making its plan for the site.
We admit we are still not floored by the consultants working on the village’s Comprehensive Plan. But we are heartened to see the frequent discussions emphasizing the need to make Forest Park more walkable, bike-friendly and focused on the gigantic assets of two transit lines which start in our town.
Thanks for the Community Center and the Food Pantry. Good people. Good work. … We love Jackie Schulz, our very own Talk of the Town. Towns need glue. Jackie is glue.
A town needs public schools and Forest Park has a study in contrasts between our elementary and high school districts. We’re thankful for the renewed conversation about what can be done to fix the troubled role of Proviso’s high schools and the necessary role of Forest Parkers in that fix. But we are more thankful for our District 91 elementary schools and their constant focus on innovating on behalf of our families. The universal pre-K creates a funnel to future enrollment and puts attention where it needs to be: on our youngest children. Impressive.
Through a very dismal economy, Madison Street and Roosevelt Road have come through remarkably strong. Decisive actions by the village council keep it that way. The creation of TIF districts on Roosevelt is essential. Staying strong in banning video gambling in bars is the right decision. Lessening the emphasis on liquor sales with shorter hours for packaged goods stores is the right emphasis.
In recent months the village council itself has been somewhat more congenial, professional and adult in its internal dealings: a plus.
We close by talking about the sense of family and community that remains so strong in the village. It is real — though sometimes the circle is closed too tight. But it is defining and, most often, a force for good.