“Every time I go back to this property (Fort Sheridan),” Commissioner Calabresa said, “it takes my breath away. It is so beautiful. It is so unique…. I think that more residents of our county need to be able to enjoy it…We owe it to the entire county to be able to enjoy this breath taking piece of property” – Carol Calabresa.
Carol Calabresa has had the uneviable position of being the chairwoman of the Fort Sheridan Master Plan Advisory Committee for over a year of her life, an experience she has referenced as “horrendous for everyone.” If not exactly being asked to make King Solomon’s decisions, for sure she was engaged in a contentious and political land use dispute with no clear resolution.
After an initial committee meeting debacle, Calabresa oversaw the hiring of an independent facilitator to move the conversation somewhere. Over the time she has ridden herd over this committee, three of the four county commissioners on the committee ran for re-election, including herself, (and won), committee member and Highland Park Mayor Belsky stepped out of his upcoming March 2011 mayoral elections, the Park District of Highland Park’s board was beheaded by a local uprising unrelated to this matter and their committee representative was replaced. Countless hours of Forest Preserve staff time have been recruited into this dispute. The environment has been tumultuous independent of the issue at hand. Calabresa has had to oversee this mess.
In the course of committee meetings, Commissioner Calabresa, as well as most of the Lake County Forest District Board members on the committee, stayed fairly neutral. After all, the four of them together with 19 other Forest Board members have the responsibility for a final determination of this matter. So this advisory panel is just prelude to a main event. At its final meeting, each committee member was asked to state their recommended course of action. Commissioner Calabresa said that it was not appropriate to build a golf course. But she didn’t stop there. Listen to Commissioner Calabresa tell you what she thinks in this 5 minute video: