The Forest Park Historical Society is nothing if not plucky. Over its intensely interesting and intensely odd decades, the society has been led by quirky fellows who gave it their all but weren’t great at sharing, delegating or outreach. It was always something of a secret society.

Now the historical society, with an energized board, has figured out that the power of local history is in celebrating it, sharing it, and building enthusiasm around it. But repeated efforts to find a permanent physical home for the always cash-shy society have been frustrated by challenging circumstances. 

It seemed back in 2015 that a workable solution had finally been found as the society entered into a rent-to-own pact with a local church, First United, facing a long-term decline in congregants. But, as happens, with old, untended buildings, they decay, they leak and someone must foot the repair bills. So far, the society and the church have not come to an agreeable solution and so the society has been actively relocating its fragile collection to other venues.

We’d like to think the two sides could resolve this to the mutual good. In the meantime, we’ll take the optimism and the determination of Jerry Lordan, the society’s president, who says, “the best years are still ahead of the Historical Society. … I have more optimism and confidence in our future than I’ve ever had.”

And so do we.

209 plans ahead

You know a taxing body is in trouble when it stops spending on its own facilities. The District 209 public high schools have lurched from one emergency repair to another as poor leadership, unstable administration and a breakdown in planning and priorities laid this district low.

Now the newly focused school board and administration have let a $320,000 contract to a distinguished Chicago architecture firm which will undertake a multi-dimensional process to study enrollment trends, technology upgrades, facility conditions, and changing curriculums and the impact on classroom uses. And all of this year-long study comes with multiple opportunities for community input.

By next spring, District 209 will finally have a complete understanding of its facilities needs and opportunities. Hard choices will follow. But this is one more sign that that Proviso high schools are being run with a focus on students, by community-focused grown-ups, and that these schools will rise once more.

Fireworks are back!

We understood completely back in 2012 when the Park District of Forest Park put a moratorium on the 4th of July fireworks. There were legitimate public safety concerns owing to both oversized crowds and some knuckleheaded youth looking to show off.

But we’re very happy to see the fireworks return to the park this 4th. The park district and the police department are working hand in hand in pre-planning. There is less out-of-town publicity, the day’s activities have been shortened and everyone will be paying close attention.

It is great for Forest Park to come thoughtfully back around to this grand tradition. Thanks to Forest Park National Bank, our local bank, for being a primary sponsor of the fireworks show.