Community, Local, Park Forest, Schools

Assistance from Attorney General’s Office Sought to Resolve Rich East Storage Questions

Fence around stockpile of building material in a parking lot
Additional material has been stored at the former Rich East High School site and a temporary fence has now been erected. (Photo John Hudzik)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- As reported last week, eNews Park Forest submitted a series of questions to District 227 regarding the building material stored in the parking lot of the former Rich East High School. This action was taken after the district responded to a FOIA request on the subject, stating it had no documentation or correspondence in its possession about the matter. As this is public land, we consider that response inadequate. Has the property of the former flagship school of District 227 been relegated to a storage lot?

To date, those questions have gone unanswered, and calls to District 227 Superintendent Johnnie Thomas and Elliot Echols, Director of Facilities and Operations, have not been returned. eNews Park Forest made contact on Friday, November 18, with Percy Scott, a spokesman for the district and President of Global 360 Marketing. Scott stated that the district had “no comment” on the submitted questions and considered them to be irrelevant.

Accordingly, per the Illinois guidelines regarding FOIA requests, eNews Park Forest has submitted a request for a review of the district’s response with the Public Access Counselor in the Illinois Attorney General’s office. All pertinent background information, including the district’s response, photos of the storage, and previous eNews articles on the matter, were included in our submission to the Attorney General’s office.

The amount of material being stored at the site continues to grow, and a temporary fence has now been erected around the material.

eNews Park Forest is hopeful that the district will finally be forthcoming about the storage arrangement and that this issue can finally be put to rest. While we remain hopeful that there is a sound business rationale for permitting the storage of materials for a commercial enterprise being built in Matteson, the district’s continued lack of openness on the subject leaves us concerned.