Photo courtesy of Max Russ

Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

Online edition –>

Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey the Forest Park Review sent out to all commissioner candidates running in this year’s elections. Candidates full, unedited responses are printed. 

Don’t miss your chance to hear commissioner candidates debate the issues.

The Forest Park Review is partnering with the Chamber of Commerce to host a commissioner candidates forum at 6:30 p.m. on March 21 at Forest Park Middle School, 925 Beloit Ave.

Age: 42

Previous political experience: None

Previous community experience: Lifelong resident

Little League coach and umpire

FPYSA coach

Former Circle Theater member

Citizen’s Advisory Council member

M.I.P.E. member

IPRA member

Occupation: Maintenance foreman/safety coordinator at The Park District of Forest Park

Education:

District 91 attendee 1st-8th grades

Graduate of Chicago Academy for the Arts

1.    What is the present state of the village of Forest Park’s financial situation? What is being done and what should the village board’s role be in promoting economic development? What are the best tools for doing so and what else can the village board to help recruit new businesses and maintain the ones already here?

The village deficit is at an all-time high, but I believe that with a Mayor and Village Council, willing to work together for the residents, we can get on the right path to financial stability.  The VC & the Chamber seem to communicate and work well together in supporting new & existing businesses.  Communication is our most powerful tool in discovering what our existing businesses need and what will attract incoming business revenue.

2.    A representative from the National Park Service has spent the last year interviewing residents and designing a plan for how to develop the village-owned Altenheim property. How should the village board now proceed?

We will need to study the plan and then assess how we can pay for it – grants, TIFs, taxes.  How can this property best serve our village as a whole?

3.    Video gaming was the talk of the town over the past year. Did you have a stance on this issue? The debate seems to have divided the town. How do you think the village should move forward and heal? 

We need money and the inclusion of video gaming represented a significant amount, but the citizens voted against it.  We have to go forward and talk about alternative incomes for the village – creativity and communication!!

4.    Flooding continues to be an issue in the village. How can this problem be addressed? And paid for?

Updating of water & sewer line throughout the village and continued work with the Water Reclamation District, who is the driving force in the flooding issue would be a start.  Also we must explore other water mitigation options.

5.    What is Forest Park’s role as it concerns Proviso Township District 209 High Schools, if any?

We are a crucial piece to the 209 future.  209 Together is working hard to change the perception of the district, but perhaps we can do more.  Lots of PR with honesty is needed here in my opinion.

6.    Transparency has been repeatedly noted by candidates and residents as an issue with the village. Do you believe Forest Park has a transparency problem? If so, how would you address it?

The Village Council legally holds open & closed sessions for a reason.  Transparency seems to have become a catch word with many definitions.  When folks aren’t privy to information, they feel a lack of transparency which there might be a totally valid reason for.  Vote for candidates whom you trust to best represent you!

7.    If you had to write a mission and vision for Forest Park, what would they be?

I see Forest Park as a flourishing, vibrant community providing a safe and nurturing community where people can live for generations.

8.    Should Forest Park remain a commissioner form of government or change to a village manager form?

I think what we have works well – perhaps ensure that there is never a complete turnover of our council.

9.    What issues should the Diversity Task Force be charged to pursue?

I’ve lived diversity my entire life so I’m sure what the function of this task force is – If we’re looking to build diversity we’re preaching to the choir because diversity is here!  A task force that gets people together from opposite ends of an issue to examine possibilities and solutions might be more beneficial.

10.      What other issues do you feel will be important for the next village board to address? How should they be addressed?

A council made up of people from a variety of skill sets and backgrounds could best serve our village.  I would like to explore parking fine collection for openers as I familiarize myself with other subjects that are on the board.


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Here's what Russ told the Review about his candidacy: 

Park district employee runs for commissioner