The Forest Park Review sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The Review’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses are below.
Name: Ryan R. Russ
Previous Political Experience: Ran for Village Commissioner in 2019
Previous/Current Community Involvement: Former Superintendent of Parks, former District 91 employee, former Circle Theater member, former Citizens Advisory Council, youth coach
Occupation: Facilities Manager
Education: District 91 Graduate 1-8, Chicago Academy for the Arts
1. Do you believe Forest Park should actively pursue acquisition of the former U.S. Army Reserve site on Roosevelt Road? If so, what do you believe would be the best use of this property and what do you think should be the minimum bid for its purchase?
I do believe we should explore our options anywhere in town but especially on Roosevelt Rd. I think the site is an asset and as a council see what is the best use. The land should be tested to find out if there are any contaminants that would then need remediation then a much better cost analysis could be done to figure out a minimum bid.
2. How should the discussion of this acquisition be more public and transparent?
Let’s get all the facts , be informed and make the best decisions for Forest Park.
3. What do you believe is the single greatest commercial development opportunity in Forest Park?
Our single greatest development in Forest Park is our Downtown Business District.Always has and always will. Harlem and Roosevelt corridors are important also ,the DBD is our heart and soul.
4. What do you believe is the minimum portion of the 11 acres at the Altenheim property that should be preserved as green space for public use? Is the park district the best option for building out and operating that green space or do you believe that there are better options for operating the space?
Absolutely, green space is key. It would be great to team up with park district but at the moment they are pretty busy doing great things! So I believe the village can figure out creative ways to fill the space.
5. How do you define racial equity in municipal government? Do you believe it should be a priority? What are the specific opportunities in which an equity lens might improve local governance?
Cambridge Dictionary Defines racial equality as a noun:
(A situation in which people of all races are treated fairly and in the same way. )
Treating all people fairly should always be a priority, that’s just me. In a community that is forever evolving such as ours. It is important that our elected officials represent all people.
6. How should Forest Park balance public safety concerns with making policing more equitable and community-engaged?
Public Saftey should always be the #1priority. Being equitable and engaged in the community should also take some priority. I truly believe our Police Department does a stellar job at both.
7. Do you view as an impediment the fact that Forest Park does not have home rule? Do you think Forest Park should seek home rule authority?
No, I don’t think it impedes Forest park. I don’t think we should seek home rule. The form we use seems to work well in our history.
8. Do you believe that Forest Park’s commission form of government is preferable for Forest Park in comparison to a city manager form?
In our history it has served us well as a community. As with anything ,,if people don’t work together nothing will work.I think for us this system works.
9. What role do you think village commissioners should play in the operations of the village government? Do you believe that the current mayor and commissioners should have active authority in the operations of the departments to which they are assigned?
A commissioners job is to be invested in the community at large while focusing on the department that they oversee. Listening to staff’s knowledge of their trades and the insights they bring to the village. Being thoroughly informed is key too. I believe it works if you work it.😉when things are done with the right intent it all makes sense.