Continuation of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) advertising campaign and a focus on the revitalized Roosevelt Road corridor are among initiatives planned by the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development in 2017.

At Monday’s meeting, the Forest Park Village Council gave tentative approval to the chamber’s request for $25,000 in continuation of the village’s annual funding support of the chamber. The vote was 4-0. Commissioner Dan Novak did not attend. Approval is tentative because the 2017 budget has yet to be finalized. However, village officials indicated they are optimistic the funds will be available.

After a hiatus in annual funding, the village council allocated $25,000 last year to the chamber.

“We were very delighted to see the results of the chamber’s work to shed some great light on Forest Park,” Mayor Anthony Calderone said. He also thanked chamber officials for their efforts.  

Commissioner Rachell Entler said she was particularly impressed with the CTA advertising campaign, adding that she had received several compliments from people who saw the CTA signs.

“I want to thank you guys for doing a fabulous job with marketing,” she said.

The reach of CTA marketing campaign was cited by Noel Eberline in his presentation to village officials during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Eberline, a member of the chamber’s executive committee and marketing committee, said Commissioner Joseph Byrnes told him prior to the meeting that a family member had mentioned he saw one of the Forest Park banners at the CTA’s station at Clark and Lake streets in Chicago, noting such comments are “great to hear.”

The co-owner of Yearbook, a shop and design studio on Madison Street, said chamber officials have received “a lot of positive comments” about the CTA marketing campaign, which involves banners on 12 CTA platforms and signs in 250 railcars.

“We’ve really tried to maximize the exposure, not just in different geographies but in different demographics. We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished in one year and hope you are as well, on behalf of the village,” Eberline said.

In a letter to village officials requesting continued funding, chamber officials thanked village officials for last year’s funding and recapped how those funds were spent, including light post banners on Madison from Harlem to Desplaines avenues; creation of a shopping and dining guide with 10,000 copies distributed; and a branded poster campaign to accompany the banners and dining and shopping guide. In addition, advertising was placed in local newspapers, West Suburban Living Magazine and Chicago Magazine, and on the I-290 digital billboard. 

A refreshed and updated version of the shopping and dining guide is in progress and will be completed prior to Music Fest in July to be distributed there, in local newspapers and throughout the village.

Although still in the planning process, chamber officials said they are considering light post banners on Roosevelt Road once the renovation project is complete; gateway signage at Harlem and Madison and on Roosevelt; continuation of the CTA marketing campaign; implementation of a comprehensive “shop local” campaign; and social media campaigns and advertising.

In his presentation, Eberline stressed that the marketing efforts benefit the village as well as the chamber.

“These are village marketing activities. It’s not just for the chamber,” he said. “The chamber is acting as a surrogate to provide the marketing but it’s really on behalf of the whole village.

“The whole campaign has been to raise the awareness and the brand for Forest Park as a friendly community to distinguish it from other communities nearby and other areas in the city. Specifically, it’s a really distinctive destination for dining, shopping and recreation and also a great community in which to live.”

In addition to thanking village officials for providing last year’s funding, Eberline stressed the need for continued funding.

“We think it’s a great start but that’s exactly what it is. It’s a start. It’s a great beginning,” he said. “But something like this marketing campaign really needs to be ongoing. The messaging, the design, all of that is critical, but just as critical in any marketing is the fact that it’s ongoing, year over year and over time.”