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.

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