Finally. The Park District of Forest Park and an official body created by village government, the Altenheim Advisory Committee, are discussing an active role for the parks in crafting the future use of the village-owned property at the Altenheim.
Yes, this is the most obvious conversation in the world. Yes, we have been pushing this idea for 20 years. At this point, though, whatever forces of logic, of nature, of collaboration have finally made this connection, we are grateful.
We hear, and fully respect, the admonition from the park district’s Jacki Iovinelli that it currently has projects stacked up that will need the full attention of its limited staff to complete. That work includes the continued remaking of the village-owned pocket parks which is coming to fruition now. The solid work the parks have been doing in rethinking and investing in these small neighborhood parks, ignored for decades under village management, only makes the case stronger for collaboration at Altenheim.
The park district also needs to plan, and find funding for, construction of its new indoor facility on property it acquired last year adjacent to the main park on Harrison Street.
Finishing these projects makes all the sense in the world.
But 20 years after wisely acquiring the acreage at Altenheim to preserve this green jewel, and following two decades of dithering over its future, we are prepared to wait a while to get the park district’s insights and expertise on how this new public space can be best utilized and operated.
That said, as long as members of this committee are standing strong for absolutely preserving considerable open space at the Altenheim, then its work on how the rest of the site might be developed can go readily forward.
Great to see this park district, ambitious and thoughtful, lift its vision beyond just The Park on Harrison. All of Forest Park needs access to open space, recreation and gathering places.
Finally, there is a path.