The Forest Park Village Council will vote on the Park District’s final plan for the 2.5-acre Roos site redevelopment on April 10. If approved, the village would waive about $100,000 in construction permit fees.
If the five-member council approves the proposal, which cleared the village’s Plan Commission in early February 2017, the long-awaited, multimillion-dollar construction project near the intersection of Harrison Street and Circle Avenue will begin in early May. The project, which includes a new 15,000-square-foot building and adjacent park space, will also feature an indoor basketball court, walking track, fitness center, locker rooms, and could be finished by summer 2018. The total budget is about $6 million, with about $3.5 million from state grants.
“We have a couple of documents we are working back and forth between the park district and the village,” Village Administrator Tim Gillian said March 22. “I fully expect it will be on our first agenda in April.”
Gillian said the documents include an intergovernmental agreement between the park district and the village of Forest Park. The Hannah Avenue right-of-way, on the western edge of the site, will remain under village control, but the park district will have access to it for day and event parking. In exchange for that access, the park district will widen the street and provide new lighting, Gillian said.
The documents include an ordinance that will waive about $100,000 in construction permit fees, such as plumbing and electrical. The park district and village government are both public bodies funded by Forest Parkers. If a private group were redeveloping the land, the waiver would not happen, Gillian sad.
“It’s essentially taking taxpayer money from one pocket and putting into another pocket,” Gillian said.
Though the official groundbreaking took place on April 1, Gillian said, no digging will take place before final approval.
“While it is unorthodox, a little bit of the cart before the horse,” Gillian said, “it’s ceremonial more than anything.”