I first heard of the FPA in 2005. I noticed a bunch of people gathering outside the old Oddfellows Hall, remembered seeing a sign promoting a Town Hall and since I wasn’t in a hurry stopped in to see what it was about. I loved it.
I don’t remember the topic or what was said, but I do remember how I felt. I felt like I belonged. I learned more about the community that day than in all the previous 15 years. I was determined not to miss another one.
Now as the new FPA President (April 2021) I realize many of our early visions for the town, and especially the trailhead, have come true. Businesses are doing well, and the Downtown Oaks Park has become an asset. It’s drawing people in from around the County enjoying the new connection from downtown Forestville to the West County Trail. It’s lovely to see, and it was a godsend during 2020 when indoors was locked down. At least we had a place to be outside and take in nature safely.
Managing this downtown park is not just a privilege, it’s a responsibility. The reason it’s done so well is because of your Board of Directors, the talents they bring and the time they share.
FPA’s new 2021 Vice President is Joanie Blechel. A long-time teacher at Forestville School she built relationships deep into the community and serves as the Chair of the Community Fund.
Our Secretary is none other than Michael Cuoio whose organizational skills have guided the FPA as President these last few years through the Use Permit process to allow events in the Downtown Oaks Park. His thoughtfulness and patience have served us well.
Continuing on as FPA’s Treasurer is Tim Sergent who grew up along the river and brings this valuable perspective to the team as well as keeping the books straight.
Board members at large are Wayne Gibb, Ken Smith, Stephanie Kirakopos, and Charles Atkins from the Hollydale Club. We are lucky to have such a talented team working for us. We welcome you to attend our meetings held the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm currently through Zoom. Send us a message if you wish to attend, Contact the FPA President.
One of our important functions as a Board is to oversee management of the Downtown Oaks Park, a result of an Open Space Matching Funds Grant back in 2013. This land was acquired for three reasons:
To provide a link to the West County Trail to the town of Forestville;
To foster the right environment for the stand of young Valley Oaks; and
With the recently completed trail addition of the wooden overpass over the fragile wetlands (in the back of the park), the last piece of the puzzle was solved. It was the partnership of public/private interests which made it happen. Look for a celebration of this major accomplishment for the town once it is safe to do so. There are many people to thank.
And one more reason to be thankful is our ability to grant $15,000 a year from the local quarries back to the community through an application process. Submissions are due June 18 so be sure to identify a project you feel would have value to the community. You can apply for a grant online here: Community Fund Application Form
Or pick the forms up in Forestville at these businesses: Forestville Pharmacy and The Service Station.
– Lucy Barnett Hardcastle, President of Forestville Planning Association