Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Posted on: January 10, 2018

Village to hold special meeting on confederate street names on Jan. 17

Special meeting at Freedom Hall, Jan. 17

The Village of Park Forest will hold a special meeting on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. to discuss streets in the Village named after confederate generals, and if their designations are problematic to residents.

The forum will take place at Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Blvd.

A longtime socially conscious community, Park Forest in the summer of 2016 became one of a small number of municipalities nationally to participate in the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Race Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative. The NLC created REAL in the wake of the 2014 unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities.

As part of Park Forest’s involvement in the REAL initiative, Mayor John A. Ostenburg over the past two years has overseen a comprehensive review of all of Park Forest's policies, processes, and procedures to identify and eliminate any outdated or unjust practice that disproportionately targets any group.

Following the Charlottesville, Virginia tragedy in August 2017, Ostenburg furthered this review by announcing his intent to investigate if streets in Park Forest named after confederate generals were of concern to residents. A committee consisting of a mixture of residents, staff members and elected officials has met several times since August to hold preliminary talks.

Park Forest now seeks feedback from residents.

The street names in question include Davis, Lee, Jackson, and Early -- all named shortly after Park Forest was incorporated in 1949.

For those unable to be present but would like to provide feedback, comments should be emailed to tmick@vopf.com by Jan. 31.  

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