Forest Park, IL Chicago’s Village of Cemeteries

Forest Park was officially incorporated in 1907 when the community hosted around 6K residents. The bulk of Forest Park’s development occurred btwn 1910 and 1930 as it grew from 6.5K-14.5K souls. Forest Park topped out at 15K residents in 1970s and has more or less remained at that level in the ensuing decades. For much of its history, Forest Park was known as a “Village of cemeteries”, with more dead “residents” than living ones; some figures estimate the ratio at 30:1, dead to alive. Forest Park also hosted the Forest Park Amusement Park, a small but popular amusement park located just north of Waldheim Cemetery where the current Forest Park T station now resides.

In general more affluent and more urban development are located north of I-290 containing Forest Park’s best urban business district along Madison. This area also contains much better streetscaping and urban form than south of 1-290. Forest park also excels with great diversity across all metrics, lots of diverse housing options, good cultural and retail amenities, excellent access to public transit, and high levels of safety. For Forest Park to have a similar level of urbanity as its Oak Park neighborhood it needs more density, especially along the rather auto centric corridors of Roosevelt and Harlem, much better bike infrastructure, and more walkable school options.

Click here to view my Forest Park, IL Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent public transit access.
* Great diversity indicators, especially racial and economic.
* Great variety of for sale options! Lots of-bed condos selling btwn 65K-250K, Lots of 2-bed condos selling btwn 115K-350K, 2-bed SF homes sell btwn 240K-400K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 175K-750K with condos being on the cheap end.
* Decent # of rentals. 1-beds lease btwn 1K-2.5K, 2-beds lease btwn 1.5K-2K, 3 beds in the high 1Ks or 2Ks.
* Decent Park space including the expansive Historic Forest Homes Cemetery and the multi-faceted City Forest Park with a swimming pool & aquatic Center and Recreation Center.
* Good cultural amenities including lots of food & bev bizs along Madison Ave. a public local museums and easy access to Dwtn Oak Park just a couple blocks east of Forest Park.
* Overall a very safe community.
* Good retail amenities including several supermarket & drugstores, a Walmart and the Forest Park Plaza, a Bed Bath & Beyond, a Hardware store, several brand name clothing stores, lots of boutiques and unique stores along Madison, a couple bookstores, several dessert joints & gyms, a couple post offices, a public library, plenty of medical offices, and several churches.
* Good streetscaping along all the Commercial districts.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* ADA curb cuts are actually less common south of I-290 but quite good north of I-290.
* A couple decently rated elementary and middle schools but the High school is pretty far away and not walkable.
* Much of the commercial amenities are auto oriented.
* Good urban massing along Madison but poor along Roosevelt and Harlem.
* So  density, somewhere between a City and a typical Suburb.
* Bike infrastructure is very limited.

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