We appreciate your kind words about the River Forest Park District and its interest in acquiring the Oilily property. [Saving the world, Our Views, June 10] In that editorial, you also asked for clarification on the status of the merger discussions between the park district and the community center.

As you may recall, the River Forest Park District approached the community center in July, 2008, expressing its interest in merging the two organizations into one agency. The overture was largely in response to the feedback that we received from the citizens of River Forest, who told us that they thought such a merger was in the best interest of the community. We spent the next six months offering to meet with them to discuss a possible merger, but the effort never gained any traction with the community center. Finally, in December, the park district board voted to end its effort, in light of the community center’s failure to respond to any requests to even schedule a meeting date.

The River Forest Park District is in need of recreation space to meet its growing demand for recreation programs, and continues to explore space options that will fit its programming needs. We are now considering the purchase of the Oilily property, and this site is showing great potential to serve as a park district recreation center. The park district will spend the summer evaluating the Oilily property and holding public meetings to discuss its purchase.

We invite everyone to attend to offer their thoughts on the building, as well as the possible new programs that we may offer with the additional space. We hope to make a decision on the property by September of this year.

Dale Jones
Submitted at WednesdayJournalOnline.com
President, River Forest Park Board

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