So now we know what Mayor Anthony Calderone does not want on the village-owned property over at The Altenheim. After a vague entreaty from a person possibly representing Oak Park and River Forest High School in its search for an off campus site for a baseball field and stands, Calderone clearly and forcefully told the Review, “No dice.” Or in his actual words texted to our editor, “OPRF is interested in buying property. The Altenheim is not for sale.”

Given protracted, as in over many years, negotiations to sell the Altenheim property to both the West Cook YMCA and Fenwick High School’s sports programs, OPRF may have sensed an opening with Forest Park’s leaders.

We give credit to Calderone for a clean and clear decision. We agree with the decision. We agree with his closing comment to us, “The Village of Forest Park will look forward to using this property in such a way that best serves the village.”

Well, we’ve been looking forward to a plan for this lovely, large, wide open site for well over a decade now. And the obvious question is when and how will a plan for Altenheim be created? We return to our previously stated idea of having the mayor appoint an actual “blue ribbon committee” representing all interested parties and charged with considering all options, costs and methods of finance. The single proviso? The plan must essentially maintain this site as open, public space.

Sitting back and swatting down offers may be very mayoral but it isn’t the kind of leadership Forest Park needs on this exciting and essential project. What, Mr. Mayor, is the plan?


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