In and Around Park Forest Week of May 18, 2009


(Photo: Wendy Heise)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Thanks to everyone who has been providing event information and for all the positive feedback we are receiving about this column. If your club, church, organization or local business will be holding activities or events in our community during the upcoming week or if you would like to announce personal events such as engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., please send an e-mail to Rosemary Piser, Associate Editor, with the details. Submission deadline is noon on Friday of each week.

Village of Park Forest – Manager’s Office

Memorial Day Ceremony

The Park Forest American Legion will conduct a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 25. It will begin at 11:00 a.m. on the Village Green in front of Village Hall in DownTown Park Forest. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Park Forest Library Breakfast and Blueprints

Mayor John Ostenburg, Trustee Ken Kramer, Village Manager Tom Mick, Finance Director Mary Dankowski, Director of Community Development Larrie Kerestes and Director of Economic Development and Planning Hildy Kingma attended a Breakfast and Blueprints last week which was sponsored by the Park Forest Library. The session was a showcase of pending remodeling and renovation work scheduled to take place at the Park Forest Library in the coming months. The library is undergoing a substantial facelift both inside and out that will make this facility an even more attractive, not to mention user-friendly, amenity to Park Foresters. The improvements are in-line with the Park Forest Library’s motto of being a “Patron First Public Library.” For more information on the pending improvements, visit the library or call 708-748-3731.

Cooperative Property Manager Meeting

Village Manager Tom Mick and Director of Public Health Christine Blue met with the Property Managers of all five Park Forest-area Cooperatives this week. Topics addressed included services offered by the Park Forest Health Department, an update on rail traffic passing through Park Forest as a result of Canadian National’s recent acquisition of the EJ&E rail arc, and upcoming calendar of events.

Help Park Forest Become a “Plastic Bag Free” Zone

Are you growing tired of seeing plastic bags blowing around the community and concerned about how these bags stand to cause problems for the community (clogging sewer lines, etc.) and for future generations (landfills)? If so, the Village of Park Forest encourages residents to visit Village Hall to pick up an environmentally friendly canvas bag that can be used for your day-to-day shopping needs. These bags are free while supplies last with only two expectations: 1) that residents have a valid email address so that future environmentally conscious concepts can be shared by the Village’s Environment Commission; and 2) that bags are limited to one per household. For more information on this program, visit the Village Manager’s Office on the second floor of Village Hall of call 708-748-1129.

Park Forest Fire Department


The department responded to 60 calls for assistance this past week including 9 double calls. Mutual aid was provided to the University Park Fire Department for assistance on an ambulance call. Automatic aid assistance was given once to South Chicago Heights and received from Matteson three times, Richton Park four times, and South Chicago Heights once.


Last week, Administrative Assistant Traci Apt, attended a “Mastering Microsoft Excel” training class in Merrillville, IN. This class, conducted by Fred Pryor Training/Career Track, provided in-depth training in a variety of Excel capabilities including formulas, data sorting, charts and tables.

Village of Park Forest – Community Development

This week, 190 inspections were performed. These included new construction, re-occupancy, inspector-initiated and referral/complaint.

In Civil Court action on property maintenance code enforcement matters, the cases against 248 Allegheny and 192 Nauvoo were dismissed due to compliance. Both of these cases were in Civil Court for close to two years or more to gain positive resolutions.

Village of Park Forest – Economic Development

Mother and Daughters Brunch

The Mother and Daughters Brunch held on Saturday, May 9 was a big success. In addition to Park Foresters, visitors from 19 different communities including Crown Point and South Bend, Indiana, Frankfort, Tinley Park, and Chicago attended the event. Based on this year’s success, staff look forward to needing an even bigger venue for next year.

International Council of Shopping Centers

The Economic Development Team is planning for its annual trip to the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention in Las Vegas. Mayor Ostenburg, Manager Tom Mick, Hildy Kingma, Sandra Zoellner, and Sharon Bellino will be making the trip this year. Staff have a full schedule of appointments with potential developers and retailers as well as some interesting ‘green’ vendors. The convention runs from Sunday, May 17 through Wednesday, May 20.

Conditional Use Permits

The Plan Commission will meet on Tuesday, May 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall Board Room to conduct two public hearings to consider requests for conditional uses. The first public hearing will consider a request from Grace United Protestant Church, 266 Somonauk Street, for a conditional use to permit a day care center. The second public hearing is also a request for a conditional use for a leasing office at 3324 Western Avenue to serve Thorncreek Town Homes. The public is encouraged to attend. If residents have any questions prior to the public hearing, call Hildy Kingma at 708-283-5622.

Fourth of July Parade

Applications are now being taken on the Village web site for those businesses or organizations who want to be part of the Fourth of July parade in Park Forest.

Park Forest Public Works

Concrete Work and Street Lighting

The concrete contractor, Davis Concrete, has begun work on the Village’s annual concrete project.

H&H Electric, the Illinois Department of Transportation street light contractor, continues work on the Indianwood Boulevard street lighting project between Blackhawk Drive and Orchard Drive. Several of the new poles have gone up.


Public Works Director Ken Eyer attended the Incident Command System 499 class at Freedom Hall on May 12 and 13.

Field Operations

The week, sanitary sewers were cleaned and street lights were reclamped. A manhole was repaired at 418 Winnebago and a main break was repaired at 226 Nauvoo. The lime lagoon (Lagoon #2) by the Water Plan was topped off with topsoil and grass seed was spread. Potholes were also patched this past week.

Water Plant

At the May 11 Board meeting, Chief Water Plant Operator Ron Erickson gave a review of the Village’s water supply source, protection, and laboratory procedures to the Board.

Park Forest Recreation and Parks

Aqua Center

In spite of the cold, chilly wind, staff training for the 2009 season kicked off on May 9. Staff worked on CPR at the Aqua Center in the morning and started in-water training at the GSU pool in the afternoon. Manager Misha Muckian is still assembling her staff for the summer, but it was very nice to see some of the regulars returning.

Great news from Springfield came on May 11 in the form of a phone call announcement that Park Forest was successful in receiving a $400,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources for a major remodeling of the bathhouse at the pool. With the Village’s match, the project budget will be $800,000. Components include a further reduction in the space used for the locker rooms, all new plumbing, showers, etc., and the addition of two family changing areas. Also part of the plan is the build-out of an environmental classroom in the northwest corner of the building to be used for school groups in conjunction with Central Park Wetlands and demolition of the old concession stand and relocation of the function to the southwest corner of the bathhouse. Work is expected to begin with the close of the 2009 season and be ready for 2010.

Grass Mowing

Many mowing calls have been received this week as we have experienced the best spring for the growth of turf grasses in nearly 10 years. The combination of cool weather and rain has been great for the development of Park Forest lawns, but has presented a challenge to mowing crews. The Village’s contractor made his first round on May 12 and the Village staff has also been very busy on park sites. Many low areas are still wet and must be ‘mowed around’ and the length of grass has also caused bunching on most sites. With nearly 400 acres to cut, the common suggestion to collect clippings is just not feasible.

Freedom Hall Renovations

The Board of Trustees approved bids for the installation of new seating for the Manilow Theater. This long-awaited project is expected to get underway in about 90 days and will be completed in two weeks. The project also will include new carpeting and painting of all concrete surfaces in the theater once the old seating is removed and before the new seats are installed. Due to the elimination of a number of narrow 19” wide seats and elimination of others to provide for ADA wheelchair spaces, the new capacity of the theater will be an estimated 287 seats. Staff and many theater goers, are really looking forward to this project. Check out a mock-up of the new seating in the lobby of Freedom Hall.

Park Forest Health Department, 350 Victory Center (lower level)

Health Stop – LAST CALL

Rich Township women who are 60 years of age and older are invited to schedule their appointment for the “Senior Ladies’ Festive Tea” on Thursday, May 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Park Forest Health Department.

The Festive Tea and Tests are FREE. The menu of the screening tests are: PAP test, lipid (cholesterol) profile and glucose (fast 9 to 12 hours), urinalysis, hemoglobin (anemia test), stool occult blood screening with instruction kit, breast exam, height/weight. Don’t wait to call – appointments fill up quickly. Call 708-748-1118 to schedule.

Human Interest

Donate to Troops Serving Abroad

The Village of Park Forest is currently seeking the names and addresses of local military personnel currently serving overseas so that they may receive packaged donations from Park Forest residents. If you are a Park Forest resident and have a family member from your household currently deployed or if you have recently returned from a tour of duty, please call Judi Lancaster at 708-283-5608 or stop by the Manager’s Office at Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive.

Shop Park Forest First!

Park Forest Farmers’ Market

The 36th Annual Park Forest Farmers’ Market will be held on Saturday’s from 7:00 a.m. to Noon through the end of October. Vendors from across Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan will have a tremendous array of fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, breads, cheese, organic eggs and meat, and the “best pork chop sandwiches in the universe.” Come early and enjoy a breakfast burrito and cup of coffee while you shop the Market. The Market is located in the parking lot of the Eagle Movie Theater at the corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Cunningham Drive in DownTown Park Forest.

Arts and Entertainment

Park Forest House Museum, 141 Forest Boulevard (Corner of Forest & Fir)

Dolls of the 1950s are on exhibit at the 1950s Park Forest House Museum through May 31, 2009. The Museum is open on Saturdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Group tours are by appointment. Call 708-748-3731.

Park Forest Library, 400 Lakewood Boulevard

The following events will be held this week at the Park Forest Library:

Monday, May 18 at 10:45 a.m. – Morning Story Times. Stories for children 3 to 6.

Tuesday, May 19 at 8:00 a.m. – Tuesday Morning Walkers. Meet in the north parking lot.

Wednesday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m. – Lap Sit Story Time. Call the Youth Services Department at 708-748-3731 to register.

For more information about these events, call 708-748-3731. The library will be closed on Sunday and Monday, May 24-25 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

Governors State University (GSU), 1 University Parkway, University Park

Graduate Student Art Exhibit

GSU’s Visual Arts Gallery presents “Diaspora – Dispersing the Light,” a graduate student photo exhibition by Peter Bosy from May 18 to 28. The Visual Arts Gallery is located in the E-Wing at GSU and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 708-534-4021.

Prairie State College, 202 S. Halsted, Chicago Heights

Annual Graduate Exhibit Continues – LAST CALL

Artwork from PSC students who will graduate in May will be exhibited through May 21 in the college’s Christopher Art Gallery. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, call 708-709-3636.

Tall Grass Gallery, 367 Artists Walk, Park Forest

Landmarks: Restoration & Regeneration

This exhibit shows close and distant views of the Earth’s natural process and formations. These inspired new works in encaustic, fiber and mixed media were created by Nikkole Huss, Heather Page and curated by Claudia Craemer. This exhibit continues through June 27th, Tuesday – Saturday, 11: 00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Educational Lectures

Governors State University (GSU), 1 University Parkway, University Park

Creating Safe Schools Symposium

On Wednesday, May 20th, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., noted author, journalist, and educator, Alex Kotlowicz will be the keynote speaker at the Creating Safe Schools Symposium. The symposium will be held at Thornridge High School auditorium, 15000 Cottage Grove Avenue, Dolton, IL and is sponsored by the Metropolitan Institute for Leadership in Education and the Criminal Justice Program both of GSU. The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, call 708-534-4024.

This and That

Hallelujah Temple, 1 Dogwood St., Park Forest

Puppet Show

Puppets and clowns will entertain children of all ages on Wednesday, May 20th from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

St. Paul’s Good Shepherd Church, 480 Lakewood, Park Forest

Grill and Chill

St. Paul’s Good Shepherd Church will host an area-wide, back yard ‘Grill and Chill’ party on Saturday, May 23rd from Noon to 4:00 p.m. All Park Forest residents living in the area of the church are invited to attend. The Park Forest Police, Fire, and Health Departments have been invited to make presentations on how to stay safer and healthier. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, lemonade, and coffee will be available for sale. There will be games for the children and a playground is nearby.

Open Auditions

The Southland Area Theatre Ensemble (SLATE) at Governors State University will be holding auditions for its production of “Into the Woods.” Roles for adults and children ages 8 though 12 are available. Individuals wishing to audition should visit the SLATE web site at www.slatetheatre.org to download the audition form and view character descriptions and casting requirements.

Auditions are scheduled by appointment only, which can be made by leaving a message on the audition hotline, 708-235-2244.

Sources: Village of Park Forest Weekly Manager’s Report; Spring/Summer 2009 Calendar of Events, Park Forest Library, Prairie State College, Governors State University, Center for Performing Arts, and Park Forest Historical Society web sites.