In anticipation of the update to our Comprehensive Plan (CP), six locals were asked  to tackle this assignment: 

Imagine that the well-being of FP over the next 10-20 years is (somewhat) in your hands…As a residential community, What is Forest Park’s greatest strength/gift, and are efforts needed to preserve it? What is FP’s biggest problem, and how can we break-thru/resolve it?

Respondents were mid-30’s to mid-60’s, men and women with diverse backgrounds and interests, all with a notable interest in Forest Park. Their instructions were to reply in 50 words or less, ignore the D209 albatross, all responses would be published anonymously, and no Electeds nor newspaper/magazine folks were invited.

Here we go.

Man of many hats

The location of Forest Park to the center of the metropolitan area is a gift.                                               

The presence in Forest Park of industrious, candid, and sensible residents is a strength.

Encouraging people to shop, work, study, recreate, pray, and live in Forest Park is a need.

The fullest and best use of the Altenheim property in a public/private partnership is part of a solution

25 year resident, educator, always interested in others views

Strengths – great neighbors and proximity to highways/public transit.

Weakness – less tangible, but a tenor of exclusivity exists amongst village leadership, making it private and club-like with nebulous processes for policy enforcement and volunteer opportunities.  Newbies accepted in the pool must toe the line to stay in the water.  Genuine dialogue, constructive criticism or questioning – sorry, not allowed.  Too often the passionate and intelligent disengage, frustrated or fearing retaliation. 

Yes, this weakness, while difficult to document and quantify, is reminiscent of Supreme Court Justice Stewart’s response to pornography, “I know it when I see it.”

Seems like I’ve been here forever

…our greatest strength is the Community Center of Forest Park. Mayor Howard Mohr’s vision to have a facility that hosted programs for young & old, as well as supporting those who are less fortunate is what I believe our Community should be about.


-Madison Street has great restaurants/bars to draw visitors from other towns.

-Park District of Forest Park has nice facilities and several programs/leagues for our community’s youth/adults.


-Too many cemeteries (land locked). 

-Mail bulk center and Naval reserve center.

-Roosevelt Road and Des Plaines Avenue’s vacancy.

-K-Mart’s upcoming vacancy.

Middle aged female, 12 year resident

Moving to FP from OP, the greatest strength I have experienced is the accessibility of Village Hall. Responses to our neighborhood concerns have been met with expedience, openness, and a commitment to resolve the concerns.  

The community could be strengthened with more focus on the Arts. I consider the revitalization of Madison Street due in large part to the Arts Community.  An arts center on the Altenheim property would round out/balance our wonderful sports/athletic offerings in town.

60 years old, 35 year resident cynic.

Any plan limited to land use can hardly be considered comprehensive. Any plan for the future based on current fads and trends in community marketing severely limits potential. Any plan that fails to embrace our quirky, unique history and geography is a disservice. A scheme is not a plan.

Young at Heart, 16 year resident

Strengths – transportation hub/location offers outstanding access and opportunity, smaller town can make us efficient and flexible. Madison Street. Ed’s Way.

Problems to Solve – unusually insular and closed (townies), too many elected officials don’t take their responsibilities seriously. Find a rational way to reduce the number of renters AND encourage them into our community life.

A new Comprehensive Plans stir our aspirations and expose our limitations. “Resident Cynic” is already disappointed knowing that the village CP will not be comprehensive. Land Use is hardly sexy, but is one means to an end.

What is our end game, fellow residents? Discuss and feel free to engage each author directly.

11 replies on “A look at our strengths and challenges”