This November, Forest Park residents will be given the opportunity to vote on whether or not video gaming should be prohibited. The decision is easy, vote No to prohibiting gaming in our village. Why is it an easy decision? Well the answer is simple, we have had video gaming in our community for over two years, without any negative impact. In fact, we have seen positive impact. Video gaming has paid for a brand new ambulance in town, contributed revenue that has helped offset our deficit, stabilized businesses that were having a hard time staying afloat, and has afforded a lot of businesses the ability to give back to our community.

The main street community has seen businesses make improvements to their properties and generous donations to organizations like Forest Park Little League, Opportunity Knocks, Misericordia and Hephzibah to name a few. These upgrades and kind contributions could easily go away if these businesses are stripped of their additional income generated from video gaming. Most surrounding villages already have video gaming, and Oak Park is under consideration as well. Removing gaming from our village could mean removing business from our neighborhood. People will search it out in other communities. 

I personally do not want to see services eliminated or reduced, such as law enforcement and sidewalk plowing, or have my water bill raised, village parking costs raised, and other fees within the village raised when the revenue from video gaming can help offset that. Before you make your decision, make sure you are well aware of the facts surrounding this argument. 

I have heard many misconceptions, like signage for example. The laws are in accordance with these businesses liquor licenses. They cannot put up signage. There has not been an uptick in crime. Do your due diligence so you can make an informed decision, not based off hearsay and lack of information. 

This should not be the personal vendetta of a small group of angry voters who have pushed back against gaming because of their own ego. Put your pride aside, and vote in favor of what is best for the entire village. Vote No. Let Forest Park grow!

Tracy Nero

Forest Park resident

Editors Note: The village of Oak Park is not considering adding video gaming at this time. 

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