Letter to the editor: Ten recommendations for Forest Park Commission
Updated: November 24, 2011 2:59AM
On May 24, the Forest Park Commission held a meeting at Gorton Community Center to relate the updates and interim report for Forest Park.
Gail Hodges, highly respected former alderman, city volunteer and member of the Historic Committee of the Forest Park Board, gave the first report with a brief summary of her dissertation. This brilliant essay may well be utilized as a standard interpretation for historic parks throughout America.
In 1896 direction was given for O.C. Simonds to plat the park. Mrs. Hodges stated that as the road was installed in the park in 1896; it was the recommendation of the Historic Committee that the road remain.
The Engineering committee was led by Stephen Douglass and Tom Swarthout, with Stephen Douglass presenting the findings. He reported that they had examined the road and found it was stable and therefore should remain in the park, perhaps with small angle parking along designated areas.
The Landscape committee led by Cliff Miller member LFGC, was noncommittal.
Ralph Gesualdo announced that there was no timeline for design completion at this point. Michael Ebner from the Historic Committee announced that the Forest Park Committee “was on the agenda” for the July 27 meeting with the City of Lake Forest’s Historic Preservation Commission, and again for Sept. 22. We highly recommend all Lake Foresters attend these meetings
We as Friends of Forest Park, would like to offer our Top Ten list of recommendations for consideration to the Forest Park Commission:
1) That the Forest Park Commission follow those basic guidelines of the Historic Committee, with the exception of leaving the parking in for practical reasons.
2) That the original developer of Forest Park had a plan that is still in existence, with thanks to the persistence of Neva and Sandy GaNun for locating this and other historical data.
3) That the O. C. Simonds plan be used as a guideline by a Preservation Landscape Architect.
4) Now that the bluff has had trees removed, it would be a perfect time for the LFGC to take the opportunity to reseed the bluff with indigenous plantings, as suggested by Rommy Lopat.
5) We further concur that the contemporary stone tiers by Stimson & Associates would be more appropriate installed down at the beach in front of the fire pit as suggested by LFGC member Bonnie Henricks and her husband Jon Henricks. This location is more conducive to other uses and does not negatively impact on the upper level of Forest Park.
6) That the stairs be rehabilitated in accordance with the East Lake Forest Preservation rules and regulations.
7) To further facilitate traffic, it is recommended that the old road joining the South parking lot with the ring road be reinstated, as suggested by Ted Moorman; that access not be limited in any way and that the ring road remain unfettered to vehicular traffic.
8) And the entire rehabilitation done according to LEED guidelines, as proposed by John Drummond.
9) Going forward that committees be established to oversee Forest Park, along with all other Lake Forest Parks.
10) Involve the community in donating trees and plants to restore Forest Park to the magical reflective park it presently is. It would be wonderful to see the bluff from the top and below the wild geraniums, trilliums, ramps, May apple, sumacs and others grown by the younger volunteer groups like CROYA and the Scout troops under the tutelage of LFGC member, Marion Cartwright.
There is no doubt that applause must be given to the untiring efforts of the Garden Club to bring this opportunity to restore the park to public attention. When it became clear that there were many Lake Foresters concerned with materially changing Forest Park, they became most diligent in offering alternate solutions. It has become apparent that a historical restoration seems to be most appropriate to landscape changes to Forest Park and that such changes remain consistent with its landmark status.
We thank the citizens of Lake Forest that have taken such a great and personal interest in the proposed changes to historic Forest Park, and hope it would bring comfort in knowing their park will be preserved in accordance to Historic Preservation standards, whilst continuing to enjoy the views of this fabulous park in the manner that they have.
Basil and Leone Falcone, Lake Forest
Jim and Marilyn Lovell, Lake Forest
Co-chairpersons Friends of Forest Park