After all the candidate forums and questionnaires, here’s one thing that is clear to us: Both mayoral candidates and all those competing for the village council agree it is time to move forward in deciding the future of the village-owned property at the Altenheim.
These 11 acres of open space were purchased by the village a long, long time ago in a bold effort to keep them from being developed as, likely, townhomes. Mayor Anthony Calderone led that charge and it remains one of the great accomplishments of his tenure. But making a real plan for its future has been elusive. For a time, that space seemed the likely home of a new West Cook YMCA. Fenwick High School had a minute’s notion about using it for athletic facilities. Mostly it has sat unused except for the occasional event, even as the few remaining structures dangerously rot in place.
There does not appear to be a full consensus among candidates on the property’s future use. Although selling off a portion to create some property and sales tax stream seems likely, keeping part of the land open also seems likely, though how much and for what use is unclear. We want the Culture Park concept to get a fair hearing in this process, too.
What is clear, however, is that all candidates believe a short timeline — maybe two years — for planning the future of the Altenheim is reasonable, doable and a priority.
That’s good news.
Sustainable Forest Park
Forest Park has bumped along quietly when it comes to environmental sustainability. There’s a recycling program, the community garden, and more recently, the energetic but informal Go Green Forest Park effort.
Now, though, the focus on small-town stewardship of our environment is getting some local government heft and, we hope, a worthy champion. The Review reported last week that Mayor Anthony Calderone is relaunching a sustainability commission as part of village government. Actually, in preparing that launch the village discovered it had created such an entity way back in the 1970s. It even had a ’70s sort of name: the Environmental Control Commission!
Karen Rozmus, a longtime Forest Parker and a Review environmental columnist back in the day, has been working with both Calderone and Go Green Forest Park to move this important idea ahead. There is not a more knowledgeable or passionate environmental champion than Rozmus. Forest Park is lucky to have her and we should all rally around this smart move to elevate our focus on our environment.
Election Day is about here – and early voting continues. Here are the candidates endorsed by the Forest Park Review:
Mayor: Rory Hoskins
Village council: Mark Boroughf, Daniel Novak, Marty Tellalian, Jessica Voogd
District 91 Forest Park elementary schools: Monique Cotton Yancey, Steve Rummel, Katherine Valleau
District 209 Proviso Township High Schools: Theresa Kelly, Claudia Medina, Ned Wagner