In 1920 a group of residents formed the Forest Park Citizens Protective League for the purpose of opposing any industrial or railway sidings that might be constructed on the site that the Park District now occupies. With the cooperation of the Forest Park Kiwanis Club and their president Emery Parichy, the group began to work toward the creation of a public park. After fourteen years of effort, the Park District was created by a referendum on November 6, 1934 and was officially entered into the records of the Cook County Court on November 14, 1934. The first commissioners were John S. Murray, Fred Steers, Raymon H. Warnecke, Dr. John T. Warner and Harry Weidermann. Dr. Warner passed away on December 18th, before taking his oath of office and Charles Heidelbach was appointed to fill the vacancy. The Board of Park Commissioners purchased a 16½ -acre tract of land on July 2, 1935. The price was $80,000 or approximately 11 cents per square foot. The first Administrative Office opened on August 15, 1935 and was located at 7520 W. Harrison. Two weeks later an application was filed with the federal government for a grant for land improvement of $272,960. The $31,500 balance of the project was to be borne by the people of the village. The grant was approved in November of 1935 and, in December, the Works Progress Administration assigned a workforce of 300 men to the project. Primarily due to a mandate by the federal government to pay prevailing wages, the cost of the project doubled. The final price tag was $611,623 for the purchase of the land and all improvements.
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