It’s unfortunate the Aug. 23 article, “River Forest condo project in limbo” is one-sided as it only reports what the Economic Development Commission thinks is best for our community and never mentions what the residents want or other possibilities for the land at Lake and Park — land that was purchased with taxpayer dollars.

Instead, the article played one source: the EDC, an advisory committee of residents who are not elected by taxpayers but rather handpicked.

Wednesday Journal missed the opportunity for balanced community journalism, failing to recognize what the residents have to say in what is developed on village-owned land and forgetting that residents spoke out adamantly opposing the EDC’s suggestion of a high-rise apartment building. As well, the article failed to mention what the elected officials thought about the proposals that were presented to them last spring.

When it came time to publicly state opinions for the final recommendation, none of the trustees recommended Pine Grove’s 80-unit apartment building, and some even expressed their skepticism about the role of the EDC. Sure, there were critics and skeptics of the Keystone Venture plan too. However, due to the outpouring of community voices, phone calls, letters and meetings, trustees honored voter trust and did not recommend the multi-unit apartment building proposed by Pine Grove. The fact that this article mentioned, “The village also could see if Pine Grove Centrum Partners is still interested” is absurd.

Not one vote was issued for them so why would we even consider bringing their proposal back? It is clear an 80-unit apartment complex isn’t what our residents and trustees want. The article never even mentioned seeing if the Pathway Assisted Living group is still interested or if we should call for more submissions until we get it right.

This article also fails to mention that three new apartment buildings are currently being built in Oak Park with a combined total of over 800 new units. Oak Park and River Forest don’t need more apartment units.

What I also question is why the EDC feels there is a “level of urgency” in moving the project forward?

River Forest currently has a lot on its plate: Fresh Thyme on North Avenue has been a debacle with a stop work order since Feb. 19; Lake and Lathrop is about to be redeveloped; 29 townhomes being built at the Hines Lumber site; and the yet-to-be-determined Madison Street TIF development project, not to mention the proposed North Avenue TIF.

With this many projects going on in River Forest, why are we in a time crunch to add another? I agree with Trustee [Mike] Gibbs when he previously and publicly stated, “I’m greatly uncomfortable with the power the EDC seems to feel they have.” 

I cannot understand why Wednesday Journal, by way of shoddy reporting, feels we should listen to the EDC and not the residents and elected trustees of our community.

Lori Madden is a resident of River Forest.

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