For pushing two years, we have been following Commissioner Chris Harris’ calls for a community survey about what to do with village-owned Altenheim property. That’s when he held a town hall to discuss public property. That’s also when Fenwick was panting at the door for a football stadium, offering letters of intent to our mayor to buy the property for a recession-discounted price.
Meanwhile, not much has changed and the Village of Forest Park pays around $1,000 a day for interest and principal on the debt we collectively took on to buy the property 12 years ago.
If it were made into a park, sculpture garden, community recreation area, we could apply for grants from Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD), as the Park District will be doing for the Roos parcel.
If we want to market and sell it, now is a good time and we could get it off the books.
Sadly, citizen participation in the comp plan process has been minimal; it’s hard for people to get out of the house. But we want to encourage our comprehensive plan consultants, Images, Inc., not to underestimate the talents and ideas of Forest Parkers. The consultants are not planning to reconvene the “steering committee” group again, and their next step is to interview high school students. In Forest Park we must ask, from which high schools?
We are pinning our hopes on the survey, which Images has said is scheduled for December. There was talk last year — when Images was applying for the job — of standing at el stations with iPads asking for input, but, heck, we’ll be glad for an Internet link.
This is really our only mass-scale attempt at citizen input for the process. Let’s get on with it.