Diane Hansen Grah

The Village of Forest Park approved a lease for a village-owned apartment to be rented by the Historical Society of Forest Park, starting Jan. 1.

Unit two on the third floor of 501 Desplaines Ave. at the corner of Desplaines and Adams will be rented to the historical society for $1 per year, according to the lease. 

The society’s board has moved the collection four times since 2011 in a continuing search for a permanent home. The bulk of the records collection is currently at the old St. Peter’s Church, 500 Hannah Ave. The church is now owned by Rev. Maurice Streeter, pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of Christ. Larger artifacts have been moved to a storage space. 

Outgoing society Board President Augie Aleksy asked the village in October to help remodel the apartment  space, which has been empty for some time.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian told the village council Monday plumbing and electrical work on the space were almost finished and following inspection, the walls could be drywalled and painted.

The space will be used for office space and storage, but not by the general public. Director Diane Hansen Grah has suggested taking materials to the nearby Forest Park Public Library (7555 Jackson Blvd.) for cataloging by volunteers or to consult with history-hunters doing research on their home.

The society is also working on an agreement with First United Church of Christ, 1000 Elgin Ave., to rent exhibit space. This will allow the society to apply for state and federal grants, said Director Diane Hansen Grah. Until the society has a permanent exhibit space, it will host traveling exhibits in display cases in the basement of village hall, and are looking into displays at the Forest Park Public Library and the Park District of Forest Park administration building.

The historical society has also requested the village include a permanent home for the collection in the village comprehensive plan, being developed by consultants Images, Inc. 

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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