Park district unresponsive on Ridgeland Common

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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When I see the bulldozers at Ridgeland Common, I am just as bothered by the process as the end result. It's true that part of leadership is going ahead with what you have to do despite some criticism, but when that criticism comes from hundreds and hundreds of the people who are paying your salary, you would think it would at least make you pause and consider if you are doing the right thing or if your plans should at least be modified, if not cancelled.

Not in Oak Park. When many hundreds of people signed petitions, wrote letters and in other ways protested the plans, you would think a public meeting would have been called to discuss them. I attended the park district board meeting and no public comment was allowed. How does this part of our government represent us? What can we do to change its attitude?

Joyce Porter

Oak Park

Reader Comments

9 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: April 26th, 2013 2:28 PM

I don't know what process led to a decision to take down a sledding hill and mature trees so that plastic grass could be put in. One problem is that it encourages more flooding. In Scoville Park the concrete footprint has been increased and the trees were planted with the burlap around the roots. What happened to sustainability? I know there was very active community input at Longfellow and Taylor Parks and the outcome was better. These two park changes preceded Scoville and Ridgeland.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 25th, 2013 8:21 PM

Sorry if I stepped over the line. I was unaware that an active group was working on this. Perhaps the noise was not loud enough for the P&R board members to hear.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 25th, 2013 5:45 PM

John, you are correct. ...."sometime residents need to jump off the couch and take action." That's exactly what happened during the Ridgeland Common planning process which began back in 2007. Hundreds of citizens got involved and stayed involved.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 25th, 2013 12:35 PM

Depending on government officials to respond to OP Comments, petitions, and appearances at board and public meetings rarely works. The only time I can remember it working was last year when the public was outraged about pigeon killing. It is not enough to have 100 or 200 complaining individually. If there is passion, then there needs to be organizing. I don't mean burning flags in the street or picketing village hall. I mean you have to bring the impassioned together to get an understanding of the issues, and form a strategy for how to oppose the issue; if that the group's choice. A major part of governance is the will of the people. Resident input is critical, but it is risky to assume that the government is going to create objective forums to do that. OP residents tend to follow the lead of government, when in fact, sometime residents need to jump off the couch and take action.

i too pay their salaries  

Posted: April 25th, 2013 11:02 AM

I was speaking of salaried employees ie. the director, not the all volunteer, selfless board

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 24th, 2013 10:28 PM

For the record, the Park Board is a volunteer elected board. They do not receive any "salary" for you to pay. They are dedicated members of your community, who put in long (unpaid) hours on your behalf.

Wha' Happened?  

Posted: April 24th, 2013 3:54 PM

So, the lady accompanied by a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude at a meeting with the Park District head is shocked that the Park District is ignoring her? Is this lady really as clueless as she is letting on? Wow.

I too pay their salary and like the current plan  

Posted: April 24th, 2013 3:42 PM

If you attend the proper board meeting, public comment is allowed. There is however no discussion between the public and the board on any issue. It appears that the pd did reflect on the issue, they just chose to stay with their original plan. Just because something doesn't go your way, it doesn't mean it's not democratic.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 24th, 2013 8:49 AM

Ms. Porter, again you couldn't be more wrong. Leadership is knowing the difference between thoughtful, open, lengthy public process (since 2007) & knee-jerk, internet driven "petitions" created long after decisions have been made. Seriously, 1000 OP-ers would sign a petition to build a statue of Dick Cheney at Scoville Park. The PDOP is & has been the epitome of responsive local govt. Deal maturely with your disappointment. As my mom says, "God answers all prayers. Sometimes the answer is NO."

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