Tuesday, August 15, 2017

FP Review Articles about the Founder of Forest Park - Ferdinand Haase

Also comparing the original vision for Forest Park with the Cultural Park Plans and Vision. Read the articles; let's make this happen!

A couple articles by John Rice.

Article: Whatever Became of the Haase Clan?

Editorial: Haase and DiFebo, Dreaming Big

"Ferdinand Haase was the "Daniel Burnham" of Forest Park. He was a visionary who made no small plans. He wrote a letter in 1863 describing his dream for Haase's Park and for establishing a German settlement here. It's a remarkable document advocating for a park, back when access to green space could be a matter of life or death. He described Chicago as a disease-ridden city with open sewers, plagued by poor air and water quality. He could picture city dwellers flocking to his park, "a piece of country with fresh air" and a wooded area with a bathing beach on the Des Plaines River. 

"We are trying to create a place similar to Haase's dream," Ralph said, "a green space that all could come and enjoy. The Cultural Park seeks to keep this property in the public domain forever." Haase didn't have the luxury of preserving all of his property as a park. Burdened by debt, he sold off large parcels that became Concordia Cemetery and Jewish Waldheim Cemetery. He replaced Haase Park with Forest Home Cemetery.

"They both dreamed of a community-sponsored park that could be rented out for picnics and performing arts. Haase imagined a site for German festivals, while Ralph proposes a music venue, along the lines of the Ravinia Festival, each a potential money-maker for the village. "Without doubt, the park would bring big interest in money value," Haase wrote. Ralph also foresees concerts and rentals providing a revenue stream for the park. 

"However, making money is secondary to providing a "grandiose woods park" for the public. Haase imagined even "rich Americans looking longingly at Haase's Park, as a country estate for themselves." In Ralph's case, he is hoping to obtain donations, or corporate sponsorship to provide seed money for the project. He also has the support of local political leaders, who spoke of providing government funding for the project. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 2017 Update - Committee Formed and Working

We have added a new set of slides at this link.

A lot has happened since our last update.
You may recall that last January, the FP Village Council formed a citizens’ committee to develop further the concept of a cultural park on the Altenheim property.
That committee consists of Rachell Entler, Ralph DiFebo, Carole Morey, David Show, Kathleen Garness, Kim Rostello, Patti Marino, Ryan Nero and Todd Petersen.
In general, we see our mission as to flesh out some reasonable potential developments for the park, analyze and compare the good and bad of each, work with the council members to understand their preferences, and submit a recommendation to the Village Council.
The important values that we are aiming at for the park to deliver include: benefit of the park to the community, overall cost effectiveness, potential revenue, and low risk to the village.
We have met four times so far and are making good progress. We are developing several alternatives, ranging from a low-end case through a larger and more comprehensive concept, like the sketches that have already been made public.
We hope to have a recommendation developed and fleshed out by Thanksgiving, ready to deliver to the Village Council for their consideration and approval. In the meantime, we also have several paths being pursued to ensure that significant roadblocks are understood and managed.
Committee meeting announcements are posted at Village Hall.
Please contact us if you have any questions of comments.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

12/19/2016 Meeting: Ad Hoc Committee Approved by Council, Being Formed

As reported in the Forest Park Review:

At the last Forest Park Village Council meeting on December 19, the mayor approved the formation of an ad hoc committee to further study the concept of a cultural park. Each council member will nominate one person to serve on the committee, and one of the committee members will act as a liaison between the committee and the council.

"Let's make this vision a reality," Calderone said, to which Commissioner Tom Mannix said, "Let's tee it up."

Commissioners will nominate the members on either January 9 or 23, at which time the ad hoc committee will be formed. DiFebo will be a member of the committee as well.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cultural Park on the Agenda, December 19, 2016

Bad news / Good news

Unfortunately, I received an email from the Oak Park River Forest Foundation informing us that we did not make the final cut for the Big Idea grant. We extend congratulations to all of the finalists and wish them all luck as they move forward. Although the results were disappointing we are not discouraged, rather I think the process has reinvigorated our resolve to seek funding. The search for funds will continue from all possible sources.

Now for the good news, WE ARE BACK ON THE AGENDA!. The Cultural Park is going to be on the Village Council's agenda. The creation of an ad hoc committee will be discussed at the next board meeting on December 19th meeting at 6:55 PM in the evening. We'll post an event on the Facebook page. Here is the link to the event.

I encourage everyone to attend the meeting and show support for turning our Cultural Park Concept into a plan and then into a park!

I hope to see you on December 19th.

Ralph DiFebo

Friday, September 23, 2016

Village Board Agenda for Sept 26, 2016 Does Not have Altenheim on the Agenda

Please feel free to attend, but not on behalf of the Cultural Park effort. Sorry if this causes any inconvenience. We will keep you apprised of further developments.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Village Board Meeting September 26, 2016--Be there or be square

Please note,
It is unsure at this point whether Altenheim will be on the agenda. We will update when we verify.

Hello All,

During the August 22 Forest Park Village Board meeting, each Commissioner on the Board expressed support for the “Concept."

It is our understanding that the “Concept” will once again appear on the Village Board's agenda at their September 26th meeting. The discussion should include the Commissioner's opinions as to how to proceed in converting our Concept into a Plan.

As discussed at the last board meeting I anticipate that the Commissioners will form an Ad Hoc Committee to study the issue. We support these actions!

I hope that all of you can take time out of your busy schedules and join us at the next meeting, Monday, September 26 at 7:00 at Village Hall to see what the Village's next step will be.  Again Forest Park Village Hall is located at 517 Des Plaines Ave.
Very exciting times, hope to see you on the 26th.

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