It has been an annual tug-of-war in Forest Park.
Will the Chamber of Commerce get funding from village hall to market the community? How much? Will the always-modest-at-best appropriation be cut back or eliminated for a year?
That’s a lot of uncertainty for a local institution everyone professes to love.
But Monday night the village council set, if not in stone at least in something firmer than quicksand, a three-year appropriation of $40,000 annually for the Chamber.
The village also agreed to fund business incentive grants through a Chamber-driven process.
The marketing assistance funds will come from the remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the village received from the federal government during the COVID pandemic. So that means while funds are in place for the next three years, the village will eventually have to make a plan for development and marketing in a post-ARPA world.
Creating a multi-year plan for the remaining ARPA funds was a good idea and one pushed over several months by Commissioner Jessica Voogd. There has been a temptation, which we understand, to look at the ARPA funding as a pool of cash to be dipped into when necessary.
The plan approved by the council focuses those funds on the Chamber, mental health assistance, crafting a needed strategic plan for the village, investing in staff, and possibly funding a playground at the Mohr Community Center.
While there were oddly articulated out-clauses included in the discussion — “This is a road map, but it can be adjusted,” said Mayor Rory Hoskins — it is a more concrete plan than we have seen to date. That’s progress.
A smoother Roosevelt Road
The new asphalt on Roosevelt Road is in place across Forest Park and east to Austin Boulevard. While it has been a bumpy month or two, we’re grateful that this busy state route has been repaved and restriped.
Roosevelt is a key commercial corridor for Forest Park and an area with great potential for future development. Having the basic infrastructure in place is essential to that progress.
We will also hope that the state’s transportation department chose a better contractor to repave Roosevelt than the last time around — which does not seem that long ago.
The last repaving effort was substandard from the get-go. And it began to notably deteriorate within months of the last steamroller decamping.
We hope this one will last.