Currently, Forest Park has a sophisticated, committed group of locals gearing up to wrestle majority control of our high school board from the Entrenched Extractors of Proviso, the EEPs. 

At the same time, village hall has finalized a Comprehensive Plan to fix a “housing problem” that has almost nothing to do with housing, but everything to do with the fact that Forest Park has no proper high school.

These two issues are deeply intertwined and fixing D209 will almost magically solve our “housing problems.” Build it and they will come – ten years tops.

On the other hand, the village’s Land Use Plan doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making Forest Park a “single family town” but could very well damage our housing market, and will certainly damage property owners.

So we must ask ourselves – why do our entrenched village officials consistently $upport the EEPs who feed off D209’s dysfunction? Since the 1960’s, Forest Park electeds haven’t lifted a finger to stabilize or improve D209, but instead have wallowed in grievance and isolationism. 

“Grab the bell jar, Good People! And, officer, take care of that ‘other’ problem at the border.” They apparently have no intention of changing, and you can view the Oct. 28, 2013 Village Council/Plan Committee meeting for repugnant details.

Monday night Forest Park lost a generational opportunity to earnestly and intelligently define our problems using facts, data, and thoughtful input from stakeholders and then, crafting best practice solutions – which is what a comprehensive plan aspires to.

But, no, we didn’t do that, because a solution to an undefined problem was already decided: “Here’s the contract, here’s the results I want, see you in two years with the money.” Sure, we pretty much knew this all along but the tell was the Nov. 24 village council meeting (11-minute-mark), featuring a puppet show by Images Inc. and Mayor Anthony T. Calderone. 

Three notable moments revealed holes in the script:

1) The most challenging acting was Images trying to explain that “We’re all R1 Now!” has no consequences…Because, well, the difference between a Future Land Use Map and a zoning ordinance is, um, really hard to explain, because it’s really subtle, um, and anyway it only effects people in the fuuuture, which is really far awaaaay. (Not at all like later tonight or next month.)

Thank you, Images Inc. Our new CP is just like a StarTrek movie.

2) Deep mishmashmush was employed each time Images Inc. was asked “Where did that idea come from?” According to Images, “those” ideas came from a huge groundswell at public meetings but, unfortunately, they did not offer evidence. (But if they had, it would be clear that “those” ideas came from village hall and the Plan Commission. See CP Study Documents).

3) Images Inc. flat out lied to Commish Mannix when he asked if the Steering committee signed off on the Community Survey. Yeah, that happened.

Mayor Calderone basically narrated the presentation and finally named whiny, uncommitted citizens as the problem. Yes, it’s a real mystery that we don’t take your invitations to participate in village matters seriously. 

It’s past time to acknowledge that some of our local power brokers do not love Forest Park. Instead, they have a virtual yearning for a fictional village they think existed 75 years ago. Wish List, indeed.

Now they’ve got us officially eating our own in a dangerous scheme to re­create a town that never was. If they actually loved this town, they’d move mountains to fix D209, instead of always trading the greater good for political and personal EEP perks.

“You know I love you, baby, and I want to marry you – as soon as you get a facelift, a boob job, a BMW, and lose 85 lbs. And, please, get some new friends. God, I love you!”

A more efficient solution to our “housing problem” would be for the village loathers to move to a town they actually do like. Just go. The folks who actually like Forest Park can do the hard, creative work needed improve both the high school and our actual housing, and they’ll devise planning ideas that aren’t 40 year old slasher fantasies.

No word yet if FP powers will $upport our fresh, homegrown candidates in April and get the Mayors of Proviso to throw in their $upport, too. But here’s some free political advice for the upcoming campaigns: “Don’t mess with my kids, Don’t mess with my home.” It’s visceral, it resonates, and it fits on a lawn sign.

This article has been updated to correct the date of the Oct. 28, 2013 Village Council / Plan Commision meeting.

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