Dear Park Forest residents,
On behalf of the Mayor and Board of Trustees, I hope this message finds each of you well and continuing to do all that you can to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors against the coronavirus which has claimed thousands of lives across the country over the past few months. Our community certainly has not been immune to the coronavirus. Numerous residents in Park Forest have tested positive for COVID-19, with a considerable number of those cases being concentrated at the Ludeman Center located in the northwest part of our community. Village officials have been working with staff at the Ludeman Center to provide them the best support possible as they address some very trying circumstances. I wish all inflicted with the coronavirus, at the Ludeman Center and in other areas of Park Forest, a fast and full recovery.
The cluster of cases at the Ludeman Center underscores the importance for residents to remain diligent in adhering to the Governor’s stay-at-home order. With so many closely joined multi-family units, seniors, and senior facilities all across Park Forest, other clusters of COVID-19 cases can happen if all are not careful. If you absolutely must leave your home, be sure those trips are for essential purposes and are extremely limited. If you must go to the grocery store, pharmacy or any other essential place, please do so with great care to maintain social distancing. Protect yourself and others by wearing a mask and gloves. If you do not have a mask, make one as best you can with materials in your home. If you are without gloves, keep tissue handy to use as a barrier between your skin and anything you touch. Keep hand sanitizer, if possible, to clean your hands immediately after touching door knobs, pin pads, touchscreens, money, or anything else touched by others. Possibly of most importance, keep your hands away from your face at all times and thoroughly wash your hands regularly. Parents, remind children that the coronavirus can also claim the lives of the young. During this period, children should not be playing together, sharing toys, or be in close contact, unless members of the same household.
We all are in this battle together and, for the time being, the best thing we can do for ourselves and for others is to stay at home. I want assure Park Foresters that the village is doing all it can to help stop the spread of the coronavirus while also continuing to provide residents the same quality of essential services. Virtually all village facilities are closed to protect the safety of residents and employees. All essential workers have been instructed to wear proper protective equipment for their safety and yours. The village will continue to take these measures as long as the CDC and our state officials deem it necessary.
I’d like to also take this opportunity to commend and thank the men and women of the Park Forest Police Department, the Park Forest Fire Department, the Park Forest Water Plant workers, and our Public Works staff who continue to provide a high level of professionalism and care in their work every day. We owe a debt of gratitude to each of them for the way they’ve bravely answered the call at this time. In particular, I want to recognize Police Chief Christopher Mannino and Fire Chief Tracy Natyshok. I have been astounded by the professionalism, dedication, and the leadership they and their command staff have exhibited in keeping residents and first responders safe throughout this pandemic. Finally, on behalf of the Mayor, Board of Trustees, and all residents of Park Forest, I want to recognize our fellow residents who may work in health care. Doctors, nurses and health care workers and support personnel are giving their all to protect each of us as this pandemic unfolds.
In closing, it may be a while before we know or understand the full impact of the coronavirus on our world, on our country, our state, and on our community. We know there is likely to be some longer term economic fallout, but to what degree is yet to be determined. With that in mind, it may be more important now than ever to ensure that your household is counted in this year’s census so that our community is sure to receive as many dollars as we qualify for from the federal government over the next decade. As of April 9, about 50% of Park Forest homes had been counted according to U.S. Census Bureau data. We are half way to reaching our goal of ensuring that each and every member of our community is counted. At a time when our economy may sputter and a tightening of the fiscal belt could soon happen, one of the last things we can afford is for additional harm to be done to our village due to any under counting of our population. So, please, if you haven’t already, be sure that while you are hunkering down at home that you take this time to be counted in the census. Your quick but important action will make certain that Park Forest does not miss out on potentially millions of dollars which could greatly benefit our community over the next 10 years.
Be safe and be well.