Village Administrator Tim Gillian said he has been working hard with village staff to make sure that the town is running as smoothly as possible while addressing coronavirus concerns.
“We are trying to be as proactive as we can while maintaining village services,” said Gillian, who added, “We are in uncharted waters.”
Changes have been made to protect residents and village staff.
- Water service, which would have been shut off on March 16 for residents who were late on their bills, will stay on to ensure people have running water.
- Citations will not be issued to residents who do not have new vehicle stickers on their cars by April 1. And there will not be a late fee for purchasing them at a later date.
- Parking ticket court on March 25 is canceled, with notices being sent with continuances.
- The building department will limit inspections to only what’s essential, such as for closings during what is typically the busy real estate season.
- As for village staff, public works will be rotating its crew on a weekly basis. Half the employees will work for one week and stay home the following week while the other half reports for duty. Staff at village hall is limited to two clerks on a rotating basis. When not working, they will be on paid administrative leave.
The village is also doing what it can as quickly as it can to help businesses and restaurants affected by Governor JB Pritzker’s mandatory closure of all dine-in facilities in the state.
Paid parking is being temporarily suspended until further notice to help local restaurants and businesses, and Gillian said he is looking into a way that restaurants offering curbside pickup can secure parking spots in front of their establishments for customers to run in and out quickly.
“We’re trying to do our part,” said Gillian.
According to Gillian, village staff visited local restaurants and bars on March 16 to make sure owners and managers were clear on the shut-down and to answer questions. Director of Public Health and Safety Steve Glinke, who oversees building and zoning for the village, said talking to the businesses was difficult.
“I am heartbroken for these people,” said Glinke.
Meetings of volunteer commissions and committees have been suspended temporarily. The March 23 village council meeting is still on the schedule, said Gillian, although he is telling department heads they do not have to attend.
Possibly on the agenda will be a vote to declare a state of emergency or authorize someone with the power to do so, as River Forest did on March 16.
“It’s on the table,” said Gillian. “As this situation develops, it’s very possible that we could do the same thing.”
Mayor Rory Hoskins said his goal is to protect Forest Park and its residents.
“I want to see us keep a safe environment, whether that involves enforcing the shutdown on restaurants and bars or reducing hours, so our small staff isn’t stretched too thin,” said Hoskins. “The priority is for Forest Park residents to remain safe.”