People make resolutions. And so can villages. Here are resolutions we’d like to see Forest Parkers make for 2015.
- Make the Roos Recreation Center at the Park fantastic. This is the year final plans will be approved and construction will begin. Let’s be clear, this is a once in generations opportunity. We don’t want to build the Taj Mahal, that’s not Forest Park. But this isn’t the moment to skimp or cut corners. Be creative. Have some fun. Build something we will point to with pride and excitement.
- Get a Diversity Committee together. This notion came out of the haywire idea of giving cops the authority to ticket kids wearing those obnoxious pants-below-your-butt outfits. Thankfully that notion seems to have gone away but if an actual committee is formed to help Forest Park talk honestly about race and diversity, to make our diversity more real, to celebrate our differences and our common values, it would be an outstanding outcome.
- Make an Altenheim plan. Forest Park is not much for Blue Ribbon Committees, but this would be a moment for gathering up smart and enthusiastic locals and charging them with crafting a plan for the village-owned Altenheim property. The committee should start by rejecting the idea of building low density senior housing on the site as the new Comprehensive Plan suggests as one alternative. Keep this property clear, give it some genuine purpose as a public space by building in some public infrastructure – playground, gardens, walking paths, performance pavilion, playing fields, what else?
- Engage in local elections. April is going to bring fascinating, critical, and notably contested elections for village council and the District 209 Proviso Township High School board. Too soon for us to pick favorites. But it is a good time for villagers to choose to engage in the election. Volunteer time, ideas and money to candidates. Knock on doors, write letters to the Review, talk to your neighbors. The future of Forest Park is in your hands.
- More infrastructure investment. Neighboring towns along the Des Plaines River have more aggressively looked at ways to address the now chronic flooding problems. Everyone knows any real fix is going to be costly but there really isn’t a more elemental role for a municipal government than solving flooding issues. River Forest and Elmwood Park are figuring out and are now investing in solutions. Glad Forest Park got serious about flooding this year.
- Look for partners. Nice job by Forest Park in leading the collaborative remaking of West Madison Street with River Forest. Let’s actively join in the shared police shooting range at Triton College. We like the idea of jointly hiring a sustainability staffer with Oak Park and River Forest. What else can we do together to lower costs and improve service? This needs to be the mindset.
- More positive. Less personal. Forest Park has a lot to be proud of. A lot of things work well in our village. Some things don’t and need repair. But Forest Park could use a good dose of positive energy, it could learn to take constructive criticism constructively, and we all really need to focus on not making everything feel so personal. That includes the Review.