Three Forest Parkers are vying for two seats on the Park District Board of Commissioners in the upcoming April 4 election.
Voters will choose two of the three candidates — incumbents Roy Sansone and Cathleen McDermott and newcomer Andrew Johnson — to serve a six-year term on the five-member policy-making board.
Although the spring election coincides with the beginning of construction on the park district’s $5 million project, a multi-use building and outdoor space on the site of the old Roos property at the corner of Circle Avenue and Harrison Street, Park District Director Larry Piekarz said it will not affect that project’s timeline.
“I just happy to see people are running and interested in being commissioners. You know, it’s unpaid and sometimes thank-less work.”
The village’s Plan Commission approved the park district’s plan Feb. 6. The Village Council must still endorse the project and construction could start as soon as April, according to Steve Glinke, Forest Park’s director of health and safety.
McDermott, a lifelong Forest Park resident, was re-elected in 2011 and also served on the park district board in the 1990s. She said she wants to continue the work she’s started.
“We do have future goals and aspirations. A lot of it revolves around the Roos project,” McDermott said. “We need to maintain the properties we have, then the focus will shift to programming.”
McDermott mentioned the planned multi-use building at the Roos site as an exciting space that will help expand programming, including basketball, volleyball and fitness classes. For McDermott, the Roos project is a bright spot in her tenure as commissioner.
“We’ve taken a blighted piece of property off the market,” McDermott said. “We’re cleaning up the land.”
Sansone declined to be interviewed.
Johnson said he wants to inject the board with fresh ideas and called the status quo “stale.”
Johnson, who has lived in Forest Park for nearly a decade, said he got involved in the village during the latest video gaming debate and decided to run for office after encouragement from several residents.
Johnson said he voted for the Roos property tax referendum in 2010 and believes the new park and building will help the district better serve residents. But he said the district’s website and social media presence as areas for improvement.
Park district officials are confident the project will move forward regardless of the election results.