It is one of Forest Park’s quiet successes: The gradual conversion of the village’s northern end from light industrial to largely residential. Follow the swoop of Circle Avenue from Harlem to Franklin and Brown from Lathrop to Franklin and you will find a neighborhood of increasingly high-end townhomes and some actual industrial-to-condominium conversions.
It is a lovely neighborhood and, unlike much of the zoning mish-mash from the 1960s that turned Forest Park north of Washington into a confused mix of mid-rises, single family and dead ends, this area hangs together. Add in a couple of destination bars and restaurants, adjacency to Downtown Oak Park and the immediate access to Metra and the Green Line and you have a happy surprise.
But like any neighborhood in the midst of such a multi-decade transition, there remains the hub of the industrial past which, at times, creates nuisance and some conflict. Such is the current case with the proposed expansion of the Farmington Foods plant on the 7400 block of Franklin. In place for 30 years, the plant processes pork into fresh, smoked and cooked meats.
With a proposal before the plan commission and soon the village council for construction of a new 13,000-square-foot processing facility on the existing property, residential neighbors who have been co-existing with this industrial use have spoken up with complaints about odors, noise and bright lights at all hours.
The village has, in our eyes, been responsive to those conflicts and recommended 11 conditions that Farmington must meet in the construction and operation of its growing plant. The firm has accepted those conditions — among them new landscaping, limits on lighting, eventually new fencing. And the firm’s architect said the new building will actually eliminate some of the nuisance issues that have upset neighbors by containing production activity.
This is an essential tension in a neighborhood serving multiple purposes. There will be no perfect solution. But this seems to us a sincere effort to ameliorate concerns.
Holiday Walk the best. Really.
We’ve said the St. Pat’s parade is our favorite. And the Bob Haeger All-School Picnic. Halloween on Madison is on the rise. The Wine Walk is pretty great.
But, really, Forest Park’s best, most fun, family-friendly and just terrific event is the Holiday Walk. Last Friday night, folks turned out by the thousands and every one of them had a smile on their face.
Whoever invented, or stole, the notion of the live display windows ought to get a holiday bonus. It is just so much fun to stroll the street and see the inventiveness and good cheer that merchants and organizations put into creating these windows.
Thanks to Grand Appliances for hosting the Review in its wide windows. And we can neither confirm nor deny that the roly-poly Santa in our window might also write the occasional editorial for the Review.