River Forest park board needs to see the light



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The River Forest Park District is back before the Development Review Board again, trying for the second time to win approval for lights at Keystone West, and they apparently haven't learned a thing. Last time they were shot down 5-0 by the DRB, and managed to antagonize both the board and the objecting neighbors.

That was a year ago, at which time the park district pulled their application, apparently to retool it, presumably to address the concerns expressed by neighbors and the DRB.

Now they're back, and they aren't winning many friends with an almost arrogant insistence that they have addressed all concerns and met all DRB standards. Neither the board nor the neighbors appear to be convinced. The park board has a case to make for lights?#34;in a village with a chronic shortage of green space and an ever-growing demand for athletic fields, lights stretch the park's availability?#34;but they aren't making it very well. The park board, and particularly Board President Steve Dudek, need to learn a lesson from past experience, rethink their approach and come back with a different, less combative attitude.

Otherwise, they're likely to end up in the dark.


Know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away

Some people have suggested that when Village Trustee Martha Brock excused herself from the village board's study session on downtown "superblock" development Oct. 27, that she was somehow abrogating her responsibilities. We think she was the only one in the room demonstrating common sense.

Brock left around 12:30 a.m., six hours after the session began. She apologized, but admitted she was "too tired to go any further. I don't know what I'm saying at this point. I don't know what I'm agreeing to either." The rest of the board continued on for another hour.

We question the quality of any decision-making at 1:30 a.m., so maybe Martha Brock, in spite of her confessed fogginess, was the only one thinking clearly.

Are meetings that go on this long in the village's best interests? The Oak Park village board, we're pretty sure, meets more often and longer than any other municipality in the Chicago area. We admire the dedication, not to mention the stamina, but wonder if it's good for any of us.

At the very least, we think it's reasonable for a trustee at 12:30 a.m., bleary-eyed from listening to a mountain of fine detail, emotional and repetitive citizen input, and sometimes tense back-and-forth discussion, to say enough is enough and head home. We hope her departure makes everyone involved in village governance rethink these marathon meetings.

Former District 97 school board member (and current Wednesday Journal columnist) John Hubbuch used to leave the board table at 10 p.m. sharp no matter what. That may sound extreme, but the current village board seems to be occupying the opposite extreme.


Solid police work pays off

Margaret Coder's family has a letter in this week's Viewpoints section praising the Oak Park Police Department for its persistence in solving their mother's 1992 murder. We second that commendation. It's deeply gratifying to see a "cold case" solved after so many years. In this case, science finally caught up to the evidence, but that was only possible because of the quality of the original investigation and the preservation of old evidence. After 13 years, it would be easy to let an investigation lapse, but Oak Park police, to their credit, kept the case alive and have now achieved an arrest, trial and conviction. We hope someday we'll be able to say the same thing about last summer's maddeningly mysterious murder of Peter D'Agostino.



? As Community Bank of Oak Park-River Forest was quick to point out, our list of bank successions in Inside Report last week [A bank by any other name ..., page 4] was inaccurate. Whereas in most cases, succeeding banks usually acquired the previous incarnation, Community Bank is an exception. Though it occupies the same premises as three previous banking institutions, Community Bank was newly chartered on Nov. 4, 1996 and has no relationship to the previous banks. We regret the error.

 Our recent story about the West Cook YMCA's SRO housing units [Low-income housing lost if YMCA moves, Oct. 26], which would be eliminated if the Y moves to Forest Park, incorrectly stated that the agency West Suburban PADS operates a shelter at the St. Bernardine Convent. The PADS administrative offices are at St. Bernardine, but the Forest Park shelter is actually located at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church. We apologize for the error.

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