As a River Forest taxpayer, I am becoming increasingly concerned that the village is getting us deeper and deeper into a project at Lake and Lathrop that has no chance of being built, rather than facing reality about the market, and moving on with the right project for the market and for River Forest.
During the Wednesday Journal River Forest Presidential Forum, President Cathy Adduci was asked, regarding the project, “Are you confident that there’s going to be a building going up on that site at some point starting this year,” and she replied, “I’m very confident.” Confident based on what?
Every realtor in town that I have spoken with about this project, about six of them, has told me there is no chance this project will break ground this year, or in the foreseeable future, because luxury condos have become undesirable locally because of unaffordably high tax bills.
The realtor listings I found on March 11 for Lake and Lathrop showed only four units listed as pending, with contract dates from March and April of 2019, about two years ago. It appears that no units have been sold since April 2019.
I wanted to know if there are direct sales outside of these listings, so I tried to verify the number of sales/contracts on the River Forest web page for this project, but the page has a striking lack of easily accessible relevant information about sales, and many other details, including deadlines for groundbreaking and completion.
Village Trustee Patty Henek says that even as a trustee, she also runs into a wall of silence when requesting this type of pertinent data from village hall.
How is it OK for River Forest to withhold all relevant information from the public about project milestones/success while approving endless extensions? That is a good combination for the developer, but not the taxpayers. This is all, mind you, after 11 long years of excuses and delays and missed revenue.
We can do better. Towns like Wilmette are building developments these days that, in addition to actually being built and adding positive economic impact, also contribute to retail/restaurant space, beautification, parking, electric charging stations, affordable housing, and green building initiatives.
It’s time to move on from the excuses and the narrative that River Forest can’t attract developers that will complete projects on time and talk straight to us. We can get this done together.
This morning I filled out an application to help out on the Economic Development Commission. I hope others will as well. Now I just need a president who will accept the help, and solicit much more help, by opening up the boards and commissions to new perspectives, instead of a president who wants the boards and commissions to be the best kept secret in town.
John Grant, River Forest