As expected, the Forest Park Village Council, Monday, approved the Park District of Forest Park’s final plan for the 2.5-acre Roos site redevelopment, waiving about $100,000 in construction permit fees.
The vote was 4-0 with Commissioner Rachel Entler abstaining because her husband is a park district commissioner and because she works for the park district.
Larry Piekarz, park district executive director, said after the meeting that the project could start as soon as May. He said the park district will go out for excavation and steel bids and hopes members of his board will be able to vote on contracts at their May 4 meeting.
“The village has been great,” he said. “It’s a great project with everybody working together.”
Mayor Anthony Calderone shared Piekarz’s enthusiasm.
“We certainly are glad to see a light at the end of the tunnel for a project that has been in the making for several years,” he said.
The village’s Plan Commission approved the plan in February.
The multimillion-dollar construction project near the intersection of Harrison Street and Circle Avenue includes a new 15,000-square-foot building and adjacent park space that will also feature an indoor basketball court, walking track, fitness center, and locker rooms. The total budget is about $6 million, with about $3.5 million from state grants. Park district officials are hoping to complete the project by summer 2018.
Also approved Monday, by the same 4-0 vote, was an intergovernmental agreement between the park district and the village regarding the Hannah Avenue right-of-way, on the western edge of the site. The right-of-way will remain under village control, but the park district will have access to it for daytime and event parking. In exchange for that access, the park district will widen the street and provide new lighting.
The site is the former home of the Roos furniture company factory. The park district acquired the property in May 2013 for $499,000.
Original plans for the site included a bigger building, but that plan was scaled back to fit the project’s current budget. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved grants for the park district in late summer 2016.
Repairs to the old factory building were initially considered, but a 2013 storm forced the village to demolish the long-vacant structure.