Dudek presses RF park director on nagging details

Board addresses lights, fences, and negotiations on obtaining the River Forest Women's Club building.

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Working with a three-member quorum, the River Forest Park District worked through a laundry list of items during its first 2005 board meeting Monday night.

Action and discussion items included field lighting adjustments, fencing alterations, the Keystone Park grand opening, and the upcoming park board election. There was also a staff report given during an executive session on negotiations with the River Forest Women's Club for the purchase of their building. A decision on that matter, up or down, can be expected within the next month, said Park District Executive Director Tom Grundin.

Board Vice President Stephen Dudek, a frequent tickler for specificity in such matters as goals and contracts, pressed Grundin on several points Monday. Dudek told Grundin and fellow commissioners Thomas Lamm and President Colleen Horrigan that he'd like to see closer coordination between the issues the board will deal with in 2005 and scheduled meetings so as to avoid the necessity of calling special park board meetings, which Grundin said he would do.

Dudek also pressed Grundin to provide him with a detailed set of expectations for Musco Lighting prior to any adjustments to the east field lights. A scheduled Tuesday meeting with reps from Musco to once again adjust those lights was canceled due to the rain-saturated fields. It will be rescheduled for some time in the next several weeks, when the fields can be walked on without damaging them. That process will involve re-aiming or lowering some lights, and possibly lowering the wattage on others.

"I expect to see, when it's done this time, that there are some positive results," said Dudek, who directed Grundin to provide him with a copy of any list. Dudek also said he plans to be present at the park when the changes are made.

Dudek also expressed concern that alteration work the board approved Monday to backstops on the Keystone east ball diamonds might violate the terms of the district's contract, as well as affect any warranty on work done by the firm that installed the original backstops.

Those alterations involve the addition of heavy-gauge fencing wire to strengthen and extend the existing backstops on the east field's southwest diamond and the west field's T-ball diamond. The board approved a $5,599 contract for that work with Peerless Fence Company. The work can be done within the next month, said Grundin.

? The board also agreed to officially open Keystone Park on Friday, April 15. The grand opening will take place the following day, coinciding with the start of the River Forest youth baseball season, during which the 2004 11-year-old River Forest state champion baseball team will be honored.

? Commissioner Holly Hirst announced in December that she would run to fill out the unexpired term of former commissioner and close friend Kathleen Nooney, who died Jan. 3, 2004. Hirst was appointed to the Park Board in March to fill Nooney's vacant position. The term expires in 2007.

One other person, Dale Jones, has picked up a petition to run for the Park District Board. Jones could not be reached for comment before press time Tuesday.

In preparation for that election, Grundin will take part in an election officials' workshop on Thursday, Jan. 6. The filing period for the April 5 park board election is from Monday, Jan. 17 through Tuesday, Jan. 25.

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