We’ve been waiting 17 years, so we can wait another season, summer into fall, for the anticipated report of the community outreach worker from the National Park Service on the ideas locals have for the village-owned property at the Altenheim.

This week will be the first of four opportunities for residents to offer input on the proposed Cultural Park. There’ll be two sessions at The Park and two at the library between now and early August. That will allow time for Mike Mencarini of the park service to gather the input collected from earlier key stakeholder interviews, mesh it with citizen input and then report it out publicly in September.

We should not prejudge the outcome. But our pulse on Forest Park suggests that the idea of Cultural Park blending a music performance space with public space has been well received in town, both in the grassroots and in official circles.

The question then is what happens in September? What’s the plan for next steps? How is money raised? How is governance crafted? How is construction executed?

We know. We are slightly ahead of ourselves. But the village’s visionary purchase of this 11-acre site was in 2001. Time to build it.

Happy Wednesday, David

It was 25 years ago that David King and associates, that would mainly be Debbie King, his sister, set out to lease commercial space in Forest Park and Oak Park. Since then their blue and white DK signs have adorned the windows of storefronts and commercial spaces across these villages, equally signaling dashed hopes and fresh opportunities for a couple of generations of entrepreneurs in our burgs.

King helped lead the resurgence of Madison Street in Forest Park 20 years ago, he has kept faith with the more dramatic ups and downs of the retail economy in Downtown Oak Park, he has worked every other local commercial strip, and expanded his firm’s footprint to Elmhurst and other suburbs. Always he has worked behind the scenes while being something of a showman out front.

Happy anniversary to David and to Debbie.

And may all our empty storefronts be leased.

Our hometown 4th

From morning and into the night, the 4th of July is Forest Park’s day to shine. The whole shooting match fireworks show is back and culminates the day at The Park on Harrison Street. 

But the fun starts early as the aquatic center opens, builds with food and brewed beverages, live music by The Redmonds, face painting, egg tosses, a magician and more.

It doesn’t get much more American than this. 

While the park district takes the lead, village hall, police and fire and lots of nonprofits all make this day happen.  

Let’s enjoy.