Week Ending - March 4th, 2022
Welcome to the weekend and the first week of March! The Village of Forest Park's weekly e-newsletter is designed to provide you with the latest information on news, events and resources in and around Forest Park. In this week's edition, please find updates on traffic alerts for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day Parade, information on vehicle stickers, utility bill payment options, resources for property and income taxes, scholarship opportunities and much more!

As a reminder, bill pay options are available on line. Visit www.forestpark.net to pay your water bill, parking permits and more. Have a safe and wonderful weekend!
St. Patrick's Day Parade Traffic Alert
On Saturday, March 5th at 1:00 p.m., the annual St. Patrick Day’s Parade returns to downtown Forest Park. The Chamber of Commerce will hold the parade on Madison Street from Van Buren Street to Harlem Avenue. Madison Street will be shut down to traffic from 11:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Traffic around Madison Street will be rerouted during this time. Please be alert to traffic changes and pedestrians attending the parade. We look forward to this annual celebration returning to Forest Park.
Village of Forest Park - 2022 Vehicle Stickers
2022 Vehicle stickers are now available. Renewal notices will be mailed next week.

Skip the line and purchase online! To purchase renewal stickers online, visit www.forestpark.net. Use GUEST to purchase. Only renewals can be purchased online.

You can also use the night depository or mail in your renewal form with payment. Vehicle Stickers need to be displayed by April 1st.
Reminder - New Clerk’s Office Hours
This week, the Clerk’s Office temporarily changed its hours due to a staffing issues. The Clerk’s Office window will be open to the public from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, until further notice. All other Village offices will remain open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Skip the line, pay online! Many of our services can be completed online! Pay your water bill, purchase parking permits, pay tickets, and more by visiting www.forestpark.net.
The Village of Forest Park is hiring! Check out open positions at Employment Opportunities - Village of Forest Park.
Community Notice - Click It or Ticket
This St. Patrick’s Day, a designated driver is your lucky charm

Forest Park, IL – As we head into St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the Forest Park Police Department is reminding motorists that they will be out in full force to keep our roads safe while the green beer flows.

“This St. Patrick’s Day, make your own luck by designating a sober driver,” said Chief Ken Gross. “If you’ll be drinking, planning ahead is the best way to ensure you and your friends make it home safely.”

In addition to looking for alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers, the Forest Park Police Department will be stepping up seat-belt enforcement, particularly at night when seat-belt usage rates are lowest. Speeding, distracted driving and other traffic laws will also be strictly enforced.

The campaign runs March 11-18.

While designating a sober driver is the simplest way to avoid a tragic crash or DUI arrest, here are some additional tips to help you keep yourself and others safe:

  • If a friend is about to drive impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.
  • Buckle up. It’s your best defense in the event of a crash.
  • Remember, pedestrians are at risk, too. If you’re walking, keep an eye out for cars. If you’re driving, remain alert for impaired walkers who may not obey street signs.

The St. Patrick’s Day enforcement effort is made possible by federal traffic safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
AARP Tax Aide - Tax Preparation Services
AARP Tax-Aide provides free tax preparation help to people with low to moderate incomes. Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free tax assistance and
preparation service in the United States — giving special attention to people over age 60. Services are available every Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 708-771-7737. Services are available through April 4th and 5th.
We Are Hiring! Childcare Worker Positions
The Village of Forest Park has immediate openings for its before and after school programs. Part-time hours are M-F 2-6 p.m. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a driver’s license and also must pass drug screening and background checks. $12.00 per hour. 

Applicants may apply in-person at the Howard Mohr Community Center, 7640 Jackson Boulevard, Forest Park, IL 60130. For more information, please contact 708-771-7737. Employment applications are available to download by clicking here.
Village of Forest Park Public Works -
Snow Removal/Cold Weather Tips
The snow season is upon us. Please assist the Public Works Department in its snow removal efforts by obeying the snow route signs. Every street in the village has visible snow route signs, typically on the same side as the street lights. Parking needs to take place across the street from the posted snow route signs. Snow routes are in effect up to 48 hours after the completion of a snow event of 2” or greater.
When the weather dips below freezing for an extended period of time and during bursts of extreme cold, please follow these tips to help you avoid frozen interior water pipes:
  • Let the water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home or business set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
  • Shut off outside water.
Garbage and Recycling Can Information
A friendly reminder, please make sure garbage and recycling cans are easily accessible for the garbage and recycling trucks. Homeowners, landlords and tenants need to make sure cans are not buried in snow or ice. Cans that cannot be accessed will result in delayed service until they can be accessed by the garbage company.
Remember to store garbage and recycling cans away from the alley way. Receptacles cannot impede traffic or be located in places where they can cause issues for travelling vehicles.
We appreciate your help with keeping our alleys safe!
Community Notice - Fillmore Lane Closure
The East bound lane of Fillmore St., between Ferdinand Ave. & Beloit Ave. has been temporarily closed due to damage from a water main break. The lane will reopen once street restoration has been finalized. This repair may take several weeks to complete. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause while we repair and restore the street.
Community Notice - Mobile Payment App Scams on the Rise
In the latest scam trend, scammers contact ComEd customers by phone, text or email to demand payment to a particular account under the threat of immediate service disconnection. The imposter then instructs the customer to use a mobile payment app, which often have higher transaction limits than prepaid cash cards. The full release is posted here.

To help customers identify and avoid scams, ComEd offers the following tips:

1. ComEd will never call or come to a customer’s home or business to:
  • Ask for direct payment with a prepaid cash card, cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, or third-party payment app like Cash App, QuickPay, Venmo or Zelle.
  • Demand immediate payment.
  • Ask for a ComEd account number or other personal information, such as a Social Security number, driver’s license number or bank information.

2.  To identify an actual ComEd employee or communication, remember:
  • All ComEd field employees wear a uniform with the ComEd logo and visibly display a company ID badge with the logo and employee’s name. ComEd recently changed its logo, so you may continue to see the former ComEd logo on uniforms, badges and vehicles until it is phased out.
  • Check the name on email or websites and make sure they match the name and address of the company you do business with. Look for misspellings or slight alterations.
  • Make a call to verify the suspected email or website is from a trusted source. Use a phone number from your personal business records or the company’s official website and not the number provided in the email.

ComEd urges anyone who believes they have been a target or victim of a scam to call ComEd at 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661). To learn more visit ComEd.com/ScamAlert.
ComEd - Smart Assistance Manager
Please see a recent press release below from ComEd regarding the launch of its Smart Assistance Manager, a new tool that makes it easier for customers to take control of their bills and energy use.

New Tool Makes It Easier for ComEd Customers to Take Control of Their Bills and Energy Use
Smart Assistance Manager guides customers to individualized financial-assistance and energy-saving options

CHICAGO (March 1, 2022) – With the launch of its Smart Assistance Manager (SAM), ComEd has made it easier for families and individuals to access customized financial-assistance options, as well as programs to help them manage their electric bills.

SAM is an online self-service tool for all residential customers that finds and displays support options based on their household information, such as energy usage and billing history. Customers who create an online account with ComEd through the "My Account" tool can log in while using SAM to get even more personalized, targeted results. (Read more here.)
ComEd - Future of Energy College Scholarship
Please see a recent press release below from ComEd regarding its Future of Energy college scholarship program.

ComEd Encourages Illinois Students to Apply for
College Scholarships of Up to $10,000 Each
$250,000 ComEd Future of Energy program seeks to build a diverse, inclusive future energy workforce by increasing the number of women, minorities in STEM fields

CHICAGO (Feb. 16, 2022) – ComEd today launched its Future of Energy program, which will provide up to $250,000 in scholarships for women and minorities pursuing STEM degrees in college. Today through March 28, 2022, students in Illinois can apply for the scholarship program, which will provide financial assistance awards of up to $10,000 and a chance to intern with ComEd.

“A diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to our mission of strengthening the communities we serve, which is why ComEd is making investments today to remove barriers and to build an industry more inclusive with those who have traditionally been left out,” said Diana Sharpe, vice president of large customer operations and interim vice president of economic and workforce development with ComEd. “The ComEd Future of Energy scholarship empowers young leaders and works to see that more people of color and women are prepared to enter careers in the fast-growing energy industry.” For more information, please click here.
Community Notice - Emergency Overnight Shelter
Housing Forward is opening an emergency overnight shelter to supplement warming center options in the community. The shelter will be open 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday during March and April. This flyer includes all the details for the month of March. Please share with your networks or anyone that you know who may need to take advantage of an emergency overnight shelter.

If you need more information about other warming sites, please click here for a complete listing of local warming centers and emergency warming shelters.
Community Notice - Applications for Property Tax Savings are Now Available
Please see a press release below from the Cook County Assessor's Office new for applications for property tax savings.

New, Easier-to-use Applications for Property Tax Savings are Now Available Everything Homeowners Need to Know

Cook County- Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi announces property-tax-saving exemptions for the 2021 tax year are now available online in a new, streamlined application. Exemptions are savings that contribute to lowering a homeowner’s property tax bill. The most common is the Homeowner Exemption, which saves a Cook County property owner an average of $973 dollars each year. Before existing and new homeowners apply, there are a few things to know that will save them time and effort.

First, existing homeowners should determine which exemptions they received last year (tax year 2020) and determine if they will automatically renew this year (tax year 2021). The Assessor’s Office will continue the automatic renewal of the Homeowner, Senior, Senior Freeze, Veterans with Disabilities, and Persons with Disabilities Exemptions. Homeowners can check their exemptions by visiting the Cook County Portal and reviewing the Exemption History section. (Read more English/Spanish.)
Community Notice - Social Security Imposter Scams
Please see a note below from the Social Security Administration's Chicago Office about social security scams.

The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA) has designated March 10, 2022 as National “Slam the Scam” Day—an outreach campaign to raise public awareness of Social Security scams and other government imposter scams. This is part of National Consumer Protection Week, March 6 - 12, 2022. We are asking you to share information about “Slam the Scam” Day with your clients, friends, and family.

In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 396,000 complaints of government imposter scams. Nearly 9% said they lost money to a scammer—more than $442 million. To prevent further losses, we urge everyone to use caution when receiving calls from someone claiming to be from a government agency.

Here are a few things to remember and share with clients, friends, and family. We will never:
  • Threaten arrest or legal action if someone does not immediately send money to resolve an overpayment.
  • Promise to increase benefits or resolve identity theft issues for a fee or by moving money into a protected account.
  • Require payment with a retail gift card, prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency, wire transfer, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Send text or email messages that contain personal information.

Our scam prevention message is simple:
  • Hang up on suspicious calls from “government officials” calling about a problem with your Social Security number or account.
  • NEVER make payments with gift cards, wire transfers, or by mailing cash.
  • Report Social Security scams to OIG.SSA.GOV.
  • Report other scams to reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Visit OIG’s Press Kit for additional resources related to “Slam the Scam” activities. Read and share our Scam Awareness Toolkit and Scam Alert infographic.

Together, we will remain vigilant against government imposter scams and help protect people from fraud.
CEDA - Low-Income Water Assistance Program
The Illinois Low Income Household Water Assistance Program is a crisis program for water and wastewater. Eligible customers may receive a benefit of up to $1,500 total for: 
  • Reconnection Assistance
  • Disconnection Prevention
  • Past Due Balance 
  • Disconnection Fees 
  • Late Fees 

For more information, please click here.
Final Reminder: Sarah's Inn Youth Voice Award
Sarah’s Inn is excited to announce its 2nd Annual Youth Voice Award! The organization is inviting all local high school students (ages 14-18) to write, sing, dance, or create a work of art to share their voice to end the cycle of relationship violence in their community.

For more information and for the requirements for the project, please click here. Submissions are due on or before March 6th, 2022.
Reminder: Village of Forest Park - Utility Payment System Change (Effective Immediately)
Take care of your water and sewer bill quickly and efficiently by paying online.

Beginning in January 2022, the Village of Forest Park will begin phasing out use of the e-Pay portal and is asking customers to use the Springbrook Civic Pay portal to pay water bills online.

Springbrook Civic Pay portal allows water customers the ability to view and download their water account activity, including usage, billing, and payment history. The portal enables 24/7 access to accounts, with the option for safe collection of payments commonly made in person. Payments are posted in real time. Users can make one time payments or create an online profile, choose paperless billing as an option, and sign up for auto pay.

The e-pay portal will continue to be available only for a limited time. When you pay your next water bill, please click here to create a new account in Springbrook Civic Pay and have access to bill payment and account history. You will need you water account number when creating your account.

Customers will still be able to use the Village's Automatic Debit Program. This free and convenient method pays your water bill from your checking or savings accounts. For information on the automatic debit program, contact us at 708-366-2323.

*Special Note* – The payment links noted above will take you away from the Village’s website.
Local Hiring Opportunities
The Village of Forest Park and a number of community partners are hiring! Please see the links below for more information and to apply:

Upcoming Events - D91 Town Hall Meetings
Beginning on March 8th, The Citizens Advisory Council is hosting a series of town hall meetings to discuss all things D91. Please see the flyer below for more information.
Property Tax Appeal Forum - Proviso Township
On March 8th, join the Taxpayers of Proviso Township for a virtual property tax appeal forum. The event, hosted by Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr., begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please click here and to register, click here.
Forest Park Senior News and Resources
The latest edition (January/February/March) of the Forest Park Senior News is now available. Please click here to read more.