His race may not be contested but he’s still campaigning.
Matt Walsh is seeking his second, six-year term on the Park District of Forest Park Board of Commissioners, saying he feels passionate about creating a formal capital and infrastructure plan, evaluating the park district’s program needs, installing green technology and more. Walsh works as an analyst for the village of Homer Glen.
“Our biggest challenge, and I don’t think it’s unique to Forest Park per se, I think the biggest challenge is attracting people who don’t usually come to The Park, to come to The Park,” Walsh said. “Little League enrollments declined — that’s an unfortunate thing — and soccer numbers have declined. The classes aren’t as big as they would have been when I was a kid. With that, comes opportunity.”
Although the Roos Recreation Center has been developed, Walsh said he was interesting in “improving” the structure by installing solar panels on the roof and on traffic signals nearby. He hopes the park district will try to add additional indoor winter programming now that the center’s been built. Creating new programs that are not necessarily sports-related — like violin classes over the summer — is a way for the park district to develop its program offerings, he said.
“The library has a lot of creative programming; they partner with the historical society and arts all the time. I think we can learn to be more creative,” he said.
During his last term, Walsh said he’s proud the board installed online registration for classes, brought back the Fourth of July fireworks to the community and, of course, finished developing the new Roos building.
“I’ve learned that things don’t move very quickly in local government; it took a long time to get the construction project for the Roos, which was sometimes frustrating,” Walsh said. “But I think it ended up being a certainly worthwhile experience for the community.”
In 2016, Walsh received the Illinois Association of Park Districts “Rising Star” award, which recognizes exemplary service from up-and-coming board members. He also coaches the “Little Kickers” youth soccer team.
“I’m committed to the park. I think I’ve done a good job learning, working with staff; hopefully the staff and board agree,” he said, adding: “Why not vote for me?”
John Doss, president of the park board and the village’s public works director, is also seeking re-election in an uncontested race.