Ultimately it might be as simple as not renewing the privilege of a liquor license. After more than a year trying to bring the owners and customers of the Forest Park Tap Room into compliance with local rules and expectations, after license suspensions and appeals, Mayor Rory Hoskins announced last week that the bar’s license to serve liquor had expired and was not being extended.
Sure, that preordained conclusion came after hours on hours of public hearings. But the village made a compelling case that the Brothers Law, owners of the Forest Park Tap Room and majority owners of the Berwyn Tap Room, are not responsible operators of a local bar.
We hope that Forest Park has learned a few things here. It needs to stick with its long-declared premise that the Madison Street downtown strip will be stronger with fewer straight-up bars. Keep actively reducing the number of tavern licenses.
The vetting process for potential liquor licensees needs to be improved and slowed down. During the recent public hearings, the village attorney presented evidence that the bar owners had a troubling run as owners of a bar in Berwyn. The Review was credited with unearthing details of many police calls and a license suspension at the Berwyn location. All we did was FOIA public records related to the Berwyn Tap Room. Not hard to do.
With the Butter and Brown Bistro moving soon into the space next to the late Tap Room, that corner is about to become more neighborly. Let’s make sure another bar is not allowed in the old Healy’s/Tap Room space.
More time, endless Roosevelt questions
Well that didn’t take long. A week after the weird hurry-up dance that saw Forest Park’s village council kill a rushed, unexplained and ill-considered proposal from Mayor Hoskins to bid on the Armed Forces Reserve Center property on Roosevelt Road, comes the unsurprising word that the application deadline has been extended to Nov. 1.
Of course it has.
This allows three months for Hoskins and the village to craft a plan, to explain the plan to taxpayers, to do some level of due diligence, particularly related to possible environmental remediation of the 6-acre site the mayor covets.
Here are a few questions to start with:
- Why is the best use of this well-placed, large-by-local-standards commercial property as a municipal center? This town needs tax revenue. The plan for Roosevelt has been for commercial growth, not a public works center.
- If it is to become a municipal complex, what are the financial and community upsides of being able to sell off the current village hall/police department/fire house? We need specifics.
- Have talks included inviting the D91 public schools to relocate? That could make its substandard headquarters on Desplaines Avenue available for resale.
- With all the talk about intergovernmental collaboration, has Forest Park talked to Maywood and River Forest about sharing a public works facility? Duplication costs money and ties up land.
- Just what is the entry price in this bizarre military land swap concept that would require Forest Park to pay for infrastructure work at Fort Sheridan in order to be gifted the Forest Park site? Give us that number now.
- Why not multifamily development, retail or commercial development on this site?
- Who has talked to the United States Postal Service about just how long they will keep the huge mail sorting facility just south of the Reserve Center? What is the best use for that combined parcel?
- How will any of this be paid for?