On the northeast side of Joliet near Lockport is one of the most economically depressed neighborhoods in the entire city. Cruising down Woodruff Road the potential can be seen but fear and uncertainty deter investment given the history of the neighborhood. Yes, the Forest Park neighborhood has seen its share of shootings and violence but the time has come to rebuild for a better tomorrow.
One of the challenges of the Forest Park neighborhood is accessibility. When traveling on Collins Street and you make the turn onto Woodruff Road when approaching the railroad tracks the street is rerouted into Hacker Avenue. This eliminates the easy access off of a main street and does not help the community.
The alternative entrance in Lockport to the neighborhood via Louise Ray Parkway has great potential for a community desperate for investment. Along Louise Ray Parkway a combination of a family friendly park, a pharmacy, and retail shopping would make a great addition. When traveling on Woodruff east of Draper there is some fair size empty land that would make a great place for a gas station and a small affordable healthcare facility. Woodruff Road can be extended to reach Briggs and there should be access to the Liberty Meadow Estates.
Another access point to the Liberty Meadow Estates can be off of Hague. This will make it tremendously easier to get around and for Pace to reach its riders better. Rosalind Street needs to be repaved and widened off of Briggs as well for safer travel.
Safety is a big concern and should be addressed seriously. Residents are scared to take their children and play at the small park off of Woodruff Road/Dora Avenue. A police light should be installed on the corner maintaining surveillance and an increased law enforcement presence to deter loitering outside the store on Arthur Avenue. Parents and children should not be afraid to visit their local parks. It’s a priority to keep everyone safe in the neighborhood.
The Forest Park neighborhood has great potential and its residents deserve the opportunity to spend their hard earned money locally instead of traveling to Lockport, New Lenox or elsewhere in Joliet. Recently the 12-acre Forest Park located at Cutter/Rosalind was the site of a grand reopening celebrating its recent renovations of improved playground, baseball field, basketball court, walking trail, and pavilion.
It’s time for continued investment in the neighborhood.