I intend to work on economic revitalization efforts that are specific to the needs of our residents.
For example, it is well-recognized that the south suburbs, especially communities that are majority African-American or Latino, are food deserts. Over the years, the efforts of our community to attract a major grocery store have been disastrous, so why do we continue to move in that direction? Alternative ways of dealing with the food desert concept have been developed elsewhere. Why not in Park Forest? We know, for example, that pop-up stores that handle certain products on a limited basis have been successful in many places, so why not take some of our empty storefront space and use that concept and recruit entrepreneurs to provide fresh vegetables and other staples to meet our residents’ needs? A small step at first, but one that could lead to greater growth and success. Creativity. Vision. Those are the elements that will move us forward.
Another critical aspect of business development is to focus more on our local businesses and to give them more excellent opportunities to bid on local projects and to provide other services. We must be sure that groups such as the Black Contractors Owners and Executives are aware of our projects and have greater opportunities to participate. Advancing our local businesses means the possibility for creating more local jobs while also improving our tax base.