As a resident of Forest Park, I wish to comment on the undeveloped land directly south of the Altenheim Senior Citizen residence at Madison and Van Buren. I would very much like to see that property retained as green space. Why? Because green space can reduce gun violence, improve safety, and help to keep residents healthier. According to the National Recreation and Park Association: “Parks are emerging as important public health solutions in urban communities. Nearly 40 years of research evidence confirms that nearby nature, including parks, gardens, the urban forest and green spaces, support human health and wellness.”

Another study, by the National Education and Environmental Association, suggests that appropriately designed and maintained green space has the potential to reduce crime and gun violence, while making communities safe and keeping residents healthier.

Forest Park is well below the World Health Organization’s recommendation for green space per population. Our village needs another park, especially one that allows for trees, garden spaces, and walking paths, inspiring peace, tranquility, and good health. I hope that the Altenheim Advisory Committee appointed by the village will keep what I have suggested in mind as they explore plans to develop the property.

Kathryn Heavey, Forest Park