120 Park Forest Youth Help Plan the Future of Their Village

Virginia Soto, Jorge Martinez, Dianne Hill
Youth from Park Forest work with CMAP to plan for the future of their town. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski – More photos available here.)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- They numbered six score. One hundred twenty young people, full of energy and ideas, took advantage of the opportunity on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, to help plan the future of Park Forest, Illinois. Filling Dining on the Green to capacity, the youth of the town worked with representatives of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to talk about the environment, and how to make it all last.

How to make everything last, and how to make it better: Park Forest, the environment, the earth.

This was a lesson in Living Green for the young people in attendance. What they had to say will be shared with staff members, commission and board members, and the village board, as a lesson for the adults.

In his opening remarks, Mayor John Ostenburg told the teens their voice would be heard, "This is a very important activity that our village is engaged in. I’m sure that in your school activity and others you’ve heard a lot of talk about ‘going green,’ trying to save the environment, make things much healthier for the future, make sure the air we breathe is clean, the water we drink is pure. We’re working very hard in the Village of Park Forest to make sure the world is better for you and your children."

"We’re so glad you’re all here tonight," the mayor continued. "We hope you will give this project your full attention. Be very open and free with your ideas and your notions. Share those at your tables, share them with your facilitators, and let’s all work together to make sure that we can create a plan for the Village of Park Forest that will make us all proud as we go into the future."

The young people worked at tables in teams. Their ideas will be incorporated into the final report from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Park Forest is one of a few select communities benefiting from the planning sessions organized by CMAP. CMAP’s role is entirely grant-funded, provided at no cost to the municipality. Similar planning sessions would cost taxpayers between $150,000 and $400,000, representatives from CMAP estimate.

More photos available here.