This month Forest Park is proudly featured in Chicago Magazine’s “Best of Chicago” edition. This honor was bestowed on us based on our town’s best attributes — Ferrara Pan, Blue and Green line CTA stops, the Aquatic Center, our diverse shopping, restaurants, events and, of course, our amazing cemeteries.
There are many more wonders in town that could easily have been mentioned in the two-page spread but what a terrific feeling to see our town being recognized.
Our village, from corner to corner, is beautiful. Desplaines features the mastery of McAdam Landscaping, a new sidewalk welcoming our North Riverside neighbors, and widened turning lane for trucks to use on Industrial Drive.
Along many of our entry points we even have signs that welcome guests to our small-town charm. Up north we have charming flower beds dotting the corners, faux red brick crosswalks, and now the new stunning flower pots along Madison Street. Medians and bumped out sidewalks can be found along thruways at Jackson and Harvard, a lovely gazebo on Randolph, grand landscaping along the slope of Community Center, and little details like flowers at the Veterans Park sign. Plus there is a robust Community Garden bursting with summer vegetables.
There is just one area that I wish could get some attention. Yes, I’m going to say it: Roosevelt Road. It has been a talking point in at least the last three elections. It is on the “other side” of town — my side of town. Through the Harlem and Roosevelt gateway thousands of people pass. It is here that I have this nagging pea in my mattress.
The northwest corner.
That’s where I’d like to see some attention, starting with that pesky flower bed at the currency exchange. Don’t get me wrong. I love a great pallet of prairie plants, like the one featured in front of Forest Park Orthodontist. But this is not great.
The profanity-laced, graffiti-etched pedestal holding the Currency Exchange sign is surrounded by overflowing weeds. It has been like this for a few years, perhaps just going under the radar at one of the busiest intersections in our town. Maybe it was the grocery cart that has been parked in the lot for the past few months that made me finally ask our village for some help.
In 1952 this corner was R. Quitsch Florist, a highly-respected business in town. This hometown florist was a part of our community from its early days. They sold cemetery flowers, pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees in the winter.
I have been perfectly happy with the currency exchange staff who are courteous and knowledgeable; when I go in once a year, the lobby is always clean and the windows are crystal clear.
It’s just that neglected corner that could look so much better.
When I followed up with a village commissioner on the progress of the weed infested corner, I was told that he has taken “heat” for this and that my complaint has remained “anonymous.”
I don’t want to cause any trouble for the commissioner, nor do I want to seem ungrateful, but I really just thought that perhaps we could expect a little better. I don’t know the delicacy of our priorities or the relationships that this corner might have. I have been a “good” patient citizen for a long time and have been grateful to the commitment to public improvements on all things north of Roosevelt and south to 16th.
But perhaps we can look at Roosevelt again, and start with this single corner, so it can rise to the same standards around town that make us the best.