We are glad to see Oak Park and River Forest High School and the Park District of Oak Park collaborating on plans to remake and rearrange outdoor athletic fields at the school and the adjacent Ridgeland Common.

At a public forum last week, leaders of the two taxing bodies explained the developing plans to repurpose current athletic fields just west of the school along Linden Avenue and add track and field facilities the school has long lacked on campus, while adding a new turf field for soccer and other sports. That will necessitate moving the current baseball and softball fields. Under the current plan, baseball will shift to the school’s field on the south side of Lake Street and OPRF’s softball program will move to a to-be-renovated portion of Ridgeland Common.

Details, costs and timelines are still being discussed, although elected boards at both the parks and high school have already signed off on a preliminary agreement to move forward. A final intergovernmental agreement could come as soon as this summer.

As endless discussions of replacing obsolete swimming pools at OPRF continue and debate over costs and size of an eventual new pool begin to heat up yet again in the villages, we, with our long memory, go back to the high school’s abject failure years back to engage with the park district to discuss a shared pool and recreation center at Ridgeland Common. The park district, with intent to fully remake the pool, ice rink and fields at its facility, begged and cajoled OPRF to partner with them.

The high school, deep in its arrogant phase, refused to engage even as its own pools deteriorated. It was a low point and it brought us endless and unnecessary tensions and costs.

That’s why it is gratifying to see active collaboration going on now between the parks and the high school.

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