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.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Results from the Forest Park Village Council Meeting on August 22, 2016

Ralph, Brian, and Gary did a great job presenting the concept to the Village Council. Their preparation paid when all members of the board expressed support for the concept.

I won't publish details here, but here are some links:

Video of the Council meeting

Minutes from the Council Meeting (about 3 months behind)

The editors of this page are completely biased, but here is the Forest Park Review article on the Altenheim part of the meeting.

We'll keep progress updated here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

We're presenting to the Forest Park Village Board!

Monday, August 22, 2016

7:00 p.m.
Village Hall, 
517 Desplaines Avenue, Forest Park, IL

As many of you may know I am not much of a Facebooker or blogger but in the short time that I have been at it for this project, this is probably my most important post.
We have been asked to present our Altenheim Concept to the Forest Park Village Board at their August 22nd meeting. I thank the Mayor and each Commissioner for allowing us to present. We hope they see the merits of the concept, evolve it into a plan and develop the park.
We are all excited and thrilled to be presenting. Gary, Brian, and I welcome everyone to come and support us in our effort to create our Cultural Park. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM and I recommend that you plan on arriving early.
Please share this post (or the one on our Facebook page) with your neighbors and friends and come out on August 22; this is the invitation we have been waiting for!
Thank you for all of your support past, present and future.
See you there,

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Make It Happen. The Economics of Building a Park at Altenheim - 3 Meetings Upcoming

During the past months, we have accumulated some fantastic data that makes the prospects of creating our Forest Park's Cultural Park a reality. We have scheduled three gatherings to share this information with you.

Please plan on attending at least one of these meetings.

Hope to see you,


The meetings are scheduled as follows:
July 14, 2016, 7 PM at Chalk, 7414 W Madison, Forest Park, IL Facebook event here
July 18, 2016, 7 PM at Brown Cow, 7347 W Madison, Forest Park, IL  Facebook event here
July 20, 2016, 7 PM at Amy's Wine House, 7235 W Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park, IL  Facebook event here

Friday, March 18, 2016

Who IS Ralph DiFebo?

Ralph has lived in Forest Park and River Forest his entire life. His grandparents lived in Forest Park in the 1960s, and he has lived here for over 30 years.  He is a homeowner and currently owns six rental properties in Forest Park.  He has multiple siblings, in-laws, and a niece that live here as well.  They all consider this to be their community.

After college, he received a Masters degree in Urban Studies and earned an Illinois Certified General Real Estate Appraiser designation. He worked for the Cook County Assessor's Office for 30 years before retiring a few years ago. Since his retirement, most of his time is spent operating and maintaining his rental properties.

He has served on many committees in organizations over the years, including several with the Village of Forest Park. 

DiFebo says, “This proposal is simply my way of contributing to the betterment of our community.  I have no financial interest in its construction or operation.”

“I am hoping to present to the Village of Park for their consideration before this summer. I would like to reiterate that the next phase of this project is up to the Village to determine.”

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Path Ahead and How You Can Help

As you may have heard, over the past two weeks we have presented our proposal to create a “Cultural Park” in Forest Park  at the Exit Strategy, McGaffer's Saloon, and the Buzz Cafe (in Oak Park). All three events were enthusiastic and well attended.

If you were unable to attend any of the sessions I would like to share with you some of the thoughts that I shared at those sessions.

I began this quest three years ago because the Village asked its residents this question:  What should we do with the Altenheim Property?  

Everything posted on this blog and our Facebook pages are my answers to the village's question.

The most important thing you need to know is that this is a concept and not a plan.  Nothing is set in stone. In the end, it is the job of the Village Board to decide if this concept  has merit and, if they feel it does, then it will be their responsibility to develop it into a plan and execute that plan.

The Board will need to analyze the concept to decide on the proposed scale of the venue, layout, amenities and traffic plans that would be a good fit for our community. They will need to bring together our residents and experts, to determine feasibility, complete the final plans, secure funding, and develop the operating model.

I have been working with some amazingly talented people.  If I am given the opportunity to present to the Village Board, I am going to ask these volunteers to help me put together a final presentation that demonstrates the value of this concept.

The ultimate goal is to present my answer to the question that Village Board asked three years ago. I am hoping to present to the Village Board before this summer.

In the meantime here is what you can do to help:

1. Take the survey.  We need to demonstrate to the Village Board that there is public support of our concept.  If you have not taken our survey please do and pass our links on to your neighbors and friends so they can take the survey.

2. “Like” our Facebook page so you can receive our updates

3. Follow the blog page by email or RSS (links on the right)

4. Come to the Village Board meeting to support us.

Anything worth doing is not too difficult to do.  If it's easy, it's not worth doing.

Thanks for your support.

Ralph DiFebo

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Public Neighborhood Forum #1 is on the Books

Neighborhood Forum #1 is on the books!

Over 40 people attended our first public neighborhood forum on March 1 at Exit Strategy Brewing Company in Forest Park. 

Thanks to everyone at Exit Strategy for offering us this opportunity to bring our idea to our citizens and friends. We had a terrific turnout of people who asked great questions and gave us some terrific input. We want these forums to both introduce our idea of a Cultural Park to the area and increase our support as we hopefully move forward. 

As we've stated, this is a concept plan that we want to present to the Forest Park Village Board. We encourage our supporters to spread the word about the idea and keep giving us your input on the concept. 

If you missed our first Forum, join us this Thursday, March 3 at McGaffer's in Forest Park, and Thursday March 10 at Buzz Cafe in Oak Park.  Start time is 7:00.  Also, we are encouraging a Food Drive at each event, so please bring non-perishable food items if you can.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Forest Park Review Articles about the Altenheim Vision and Calderone's Inaction

Recent news from our local paper regarding the Cultural Park proposal.

Article:  Taking His Vision to the People  by John Rice   Forest Park Review Feb. 24, 2016 p. 2

Editorial:  Calderone’s Inaction   Forest Park Review Feb 24, 2016 p. 12

Community Calendar listing:   Dates and locations for “casual forums”  to share Cultural Park concept  p.18

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Neighborhood Meetings about the Cultural Park, March 1, 3, and 10.

Three separate meetings have been scheduled in March to present our proposal for the Cultural Park. We will be presenting at Exit Strategy, on March 1st, McGaffer's on March 3rd, and the Buzz Cafe on March 10th.

Flyers are below. We will also create events on the Facebook page.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Neighborhood Meeting Held on January 14, 2016

Hello everybody
One of our neighbors on the 1500 block on Elgin Avenue (Forest Park) invited her neighbors to an open house so we could talk about the Altenheim proposal. It was well attended, about eleven neighbors were able to stop in. We described our vision and answer a wide variety of questions from who might run the park to parking and security.
We are planning other outreach events.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Oak Park River Forest Foundation - Grant Application

Just a short update. As you may be aware, Ralph DiFebo has been working with the Kiwanis Club of Forest Park in promoting the Cultural Park. With the help of the Kiwanis Club we have applied for a grant being offered by the Oak Park River Forest Foundation. They are offering a grant up to $50,000 for a “Big Idea” that will change the community. Our proposal is currently being reviewed and the Foundation will be announcing their grantees at the end of February.

The money would be used to further the conceptual development of the proposal.

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