Steve Glinke has served Forest Park well, in multiple roles, over three decades. For the past six years he has pulled double duty, continuing in his post as fire chief while adding responsibility as health and safety director (this is effectively the building department).
That dual role is about to end as Glinke prepares to step down as fire chief. His plan is to continue on in the building department role, pending final action by the village council.
Glinke was a good soldier back in 2010 when he helped Mayor Anthony Calderone and Village Administrator Tim Gillian solve two problems. With the recession roaring, Forest Park needed to cut costs, and combining two major posts accomplished that goal. More importantly, Glinke stepped into a troubled building department that was technologically out of date, which had flubbed a troubled condo conversion at Madison and Circle — the Tuscan Lofts — and which generally was stuck in Forest Park’s perpetual conundrum related to non-conforming uses in the hodgepodge of local housing.
Glinke brought energy and clarity to that mess and, despite the mayor’s efforts to muzzle all department heads from talking to the local press, he managed to communicate well with frustrated residents.
He has also been a sturdy defender of Forest Park’s buffeted housing stock during the half-decade-long real estate collapse. Like many towns, Forest Park took a major hit on foreclosures. This turned a lot of single-family homes into either vacant properties or rental units. Not a good situation in a town where the housing is often a little banged up to start with.
Working house-by-house with rehabbers and property owners, Glinke’s department has helped Forest Park step slowly back from that sustained decline.
Still ahead are details on how Glinke might be compensated and who will replace him as fire chief. We commend him for his service — past and future.
Come Sunday night, Forest Park will celebrate Juneteenth — the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in America — with the eighth annual Family Pool Party at the park.
This wonderful event is the special work of Rory Hoskins, a former village commissioner, who grew up in Galveston with notable Juneteenth celebrations. He brought the concept to Forest Park and has watched it grow into an evening that celebrates Forest Park’s racial diversity.
A free event underwritten by sponsors — the Review is one — and the generosity of the park district in opening the pool, Juneteenth is not a night of speeches and lectures on history. It is about all races in Forest Park coming together to enjoy each other’s company and to take satisfaction and pride in having built an integrated community.
Later this month the village government’s new Diversity Commission will meet for the first time. That can be another step ahead in recognizing the fruits of diversity and talking honestly about the challenges of diversity.
See you Sunday night at the pool.