The River Forest Park District is proposing purchasing the Oilily building on Park Avenue. In doing this, the park district would affect our future taxes in three ways: (1) with a resulting loss of $32,380.12 a year, the building would no longer be a tax-generating property; (2) the park district would issue new bonds, which would affect our levy, and (3) River Forest taxpayers would have the costs of maintaining this building and property.

According to the park district, “Interest in the Oilily property is driven by rising enrollment in Park District programs and community interest in more program options.”

The questions to ask ourselves:

Is purchasing a building the best way to meet a programming need? Could collaborative programming with other park districts, District 90, Dominican, Concordia, Triton, and the River Forest Community Center meet this need? What are we willing to pay for more programming?

The questions for the River Forest Park District:

What are the projected costs for not only the initial purchase, loss of taxes from the property, bond costs, and renovation and maintenance of the building?

The River Forest Park District board has gone ahead and hired an architect firm at a cost up to $35,000. The total cost of purchase and renovation has been estimated at 7 to 8 MILLION dollars (per article in the Forest Leaves dated Aug. 26). While they are correct that it may not cost the taxpayers any more initially, what will the long-term cost be? If they did not do this project, the park district board could be levying less.

Why is this a good idea? I, as a taxpayer, surely need more answers.

Katie Madock
River Forest

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