In 2002, after looking at numerous options, I purchased my first home in Forest Park. The location, value, community and charm are what drew me to the Village. After more than 16 years as a resident, I see areas for improvement that could benefit the Village and encourage new residents and businesses to choose Forest Park. That is why I am running for Commissioner.
One area for improvement is the lack of transparency in Village government. It’s important that citizens have full information in order to participate in their government. This could be achieved by publishing full, un-redacted copies of the Village Budget on the website, holding meetings in the evenings at times that are more convenient for residents and improving online communications.
The quality of our schools is another important concern. Better schools improve future opportunities for our children and encourage residents to stay when their families reach high school age. The Village Board should be in contact with the District 91 and District 209 school boards to assure our engagement in every stage of education.
The recent flooding is a concern for the Village. The current sewer system needs to be expanded, according to Village studies. By cutting expenses in the Village’s General Budget the $900,000 that is pulled from the water budget could be used for this purpose.
Additionally, a comprehensive financial plan for all Village departments should be created with a focus on cutting costs to save taxpayer money.
Several studies have been done on the Altenheim property, including a parking/traffic study, a National Park Service study and studies conducted by PACE. A series of open town halls could help outline the next steps.
The Forest Park commissioner form of government is now in question. A series of town hall meetings should be held to explain the various forms of government to all residents and council members, each followed by question and debate sessions, allowing for a more informed decision by all.
Forest Park needs a vibrant business community. Social Media Marketing is cost effective, easy to implement and has enormous reach. Working with commercial real estate agents, targeted promotions can be delivered to entrepreneurs seeking to start new businesses or add additional locations. The Village Board needs to work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and a new Business Owner Advisory Panel for insight on current challenges, such as parking issues, and on solutions to strengthen the business community, such as holding Village events in Forest Park, easing building permit fees, or a sales tax revenue share.
I’m proud to be a resident of Forest Park and that is why I am working to solve the current issues facing our community. The best solutions will be the ones that include everyone in the Village; the Board, the Mayor, businesses and, most important, the residents. I look forward to a Forest Park that is inclusive in all aspects – employment, education, neighborhoods and government. I ask for your vote as Forest Park Commissioner.
Village Commissioner candidate