Three Forest Park residents have signed up to join Ralph DiFebo on an ad hoc committee to study DiFebo’s proposal to create a mini-Ravinia on the village’s Altenheim property.

Kim Rosello, Ryan Nero and Patty Marino have submitted applications to be included on the committee after their names were among seven suggested by commissioners at the Jan. 9 village council meeting. 

Of the other four, Todd Peterson and Kathleen Garness each have given an oral commitment, while one resident withdrew her name from consideration and village officials are waiting to hear back from the other. 

“I’m excited to be at the point where we will have an active, engaged group of citizens working on the long-term future of the proposed concept,” Mayor Anthony Calderone said after the Jan. 9 meeting.

At the Dec. 19 village council meeting, he had asked each of the commissioners to recommend at least one resident to serve on the committee that will study DiFebo’s plan for year-round use by all ages of vacant village-owned property near the Altenheim Retirement Home.

DiFebo also accepted Calderone’s invitation to join the committee.

When he made a presentation to the village council in August, DiFebo said the centerpiece of the concept is a band shell and “great lawn” for concerts, with seating for up to 7,200 on the lawn and a terraced berm that also would contain sound. A building containing restrooms and concessions, plus rooftop seating, would be constructed near the band shell, and another building across the lawn would serve as a pavilion. The property would be primarily open space although a skating rink, walking trails and a home for the farmers market are additional options. A limited access roadway would connect the south and west sides, and opportunities for art, including sculptures, would be scattered around the property.

The village purchased the property for $3.6 million in 2001, averting a sale to a private developer who planned to build townhomes. The property consists of 11 acres north and south of Altenheim and includes a chapel and other outbuildings, all of which are empty. 

At one point, the West Cook YMCA in Oak Park targeted the site for a new facility but negotiations fell through. Fenwick High School in Oak Park also inquired about purchasing the property for a football field and other athletic fields.