It has long baffled us, meaning for decades it has baffled us. Why does village government own and sort of manage the four pocket parks in town? You know, those little cut-outs seemingly randomly placed across the village which may include a small playground or a quiet bench. Once in a while a person might turn up.
It always seemed logical that the Park District of Forest Park would manage the pocket parks, program them to some extent, care for them with that park district magic. Now, finally, that is going to happen. A deal has been reached and the parks will lease the pocket parks for $1 annually.
Is this the village easing up on perceived control? Or is this a more ambitious park district stepping up? Either way, it works for us.
We also hope it is a harbinger of further collaboration as, after more decades, we come closer to some resolution of the future use of the village-owned Altenheim property. Even after the village carves off some uncertain percentage of the 11 acres for development, we fully expect there will be a goodly chunk of open space which will need to be planned, built-out and programmed. We’d argue that some notable portion of the remaining space be planned as passive park space.
In any event, the park district is better equipped for that role than village government. Hopefully the pocket-park deal indicates an openness between these two parties to move past their awkwardness and collaborate.