Resident input sought for parks in Oak Park

Board seeks to revise strategic plan, gather ideas for Lindberg Park

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By Igor Studenkov

Contributing Reporter

The residents of Oak Park soon will have an opportunity to share ideas for the future parks throughout Oak Park and Lindberg Park in particular.

On Sept. 11, the Park District of Oak Park board will host a community meeting to find out what the residents want to include in its strategic plan. And on Sept 12, the park district will hold a meeting about Lindberg Park, giving residents an opportunity to comment on the improvements made so far and suggest future improvements. 

Both meetings will be held at Cheney Mansion, 220 N. Euclid Ave., at 7 p.m. Park district officials encourage all interested residents to review plans on their website. A link to the Park District Strategic Plan 2016-18 can be found at www.pdop.org/about/about-us while a link to the Lindberg Park plan can be found at www.pdop.org/about/park-facility-improvements.

The 2016-18 strategic plan was an outgrowth of the park district's 2015-24 master plan, which set guidelines for policies, operations and capital improvements. The strategic plan focuses on goals and priorities for a shorter, three-year period. With the 2016-18 plan coming to an end, the park district is developing the new plan for 2019-21. 

The park district will try to forge a plan to improve parks and facilities while taking into account Oak Park's current economic, demographic and environmental realities and projected trends. Every strategic plan includes a public outreach component, which is where the Sept. 11 meeting comes in. 

The Park District of Oak Park also creates plans for individual parks. The plans suggest potential improvements and other changes, though the way they are implemented depends on how much money the district has and what kind of grants and other outside funding it can secure.

The original Lindberg Park master plan was developed in 2010, and the park was renovated in 2015. The park district tries to review the parks and facilities master plans at least once every 10 years.

Diane Stanke, park district's director of marketing and customer service, said while her there are no funds set aside for Lindberg Park capital improvements at this time, they are interested to hear resident suggestions for smaller improvements that may not require as much money.

And, if the residents do want to suggest the capital improvements, the park district will save those suggestions and take them into account when putting together future capital projects budgets.

Stanke said that residents who aren't able to make those meetings can submit comments by email to Diane.Stanke@podp.org.

Reader Comments

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Josh Vanderberg  

Posted: September 8th, 2018 9:28 AM

Don't much care what they do, just don't increase the levy to do it. The park district levy has grown 400% in the last 20 years. It's good now.

Marty Bracco  

Posted: September 7th, 2018 3:55 PM

Mr. Polido, payroll & benefits make up 42% of the PDOP budget. The bulk of payroll is made up of youth and part time programming personnel. The two individuals you've chosen to call out by name are, in addition to being great people and great public stewards, significantly underpaid when compared to their private sector counterparts. The CEO of a $ 25M, 450 employee private company takes home significantly more. No one rails about wasteful public sector spending more than I do. Regarding the PDOP, however, you're barking up the wrong tree. It's 4.5% of our property tax bill. We best focus on the other 96%, in particular the 67% of the bill that is consumed by the school districts.

Helen Vogel  

Posted: September 6th, 2018 3:18 PM

Renee- Just because "your ideas" weren't used doesn't mean they weren't heard. My mother used to tell me that about my prayers. Nick B. - if these are things you are interested in? Then go to the meeting. Kline- Ironic? maybe an error in someones judgement. But maybe that has never happened to you? It's not like any of you will go to any of these meetings. You'll just jump on line and gripe about it and offer no viable solutions. Exhausting!

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: September 6th, 2018 12:11 PM

Is there a plan to convert any of the dozens of under-utilized tennis courts to floor hockey or putting greens?

Nick Polido  

Posted: September 6th, 2018 8:51 AM

Maybe we could trim the salary and benefits that consume half the park districts budget...do we need to pay 100k plus benefits to Ms. Stanke as director of marketing or pay the director 150k plus benefits? Seems like all our gov't entities are lining up for more referendums before JB comes to the rescue!

Kline Maureen  

Posted: September 5th, 2018 6:10 PM

Also, does anyone select find it IRONIC that this is scheduled for the same night as IMAGINE OPRF's presentation of its long-awaited Long-term Facilities Plan concept to the D200 Board of Ed, as well as the same night that the Wednesday Journal has scheduled a community conversation with Steve James, the creator of the documentary "America to Me" ? Ironic would not be my first choice of words but it's more polite than what Im thinking.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: September 5th, 2018 1:18 PM

Renee, that is an Oak Park tradition, Town Hall Meetings for for show...cheap theater, that's all. You are right that things are typically pre-decided and this seems, at first, always just to make people feel good when they participate. In the long run though, when people ideas and suggestions are ignored, after numerous of these experiences, finally citizens get it, The Meaningless Rituals of Boards and Committees of Oak Park, not all of them, not all the time, but many of them. After participating in a few of these then people get it and feel angry. This too shall pass, these Boards will soon be replaced as the ones before them, but these meaningless rituals still seem so popular when people get their first taste of being in public office. It's a feel good exercise for them. And citizens who participate in those Town Hall Meetings, also feel good and go in with the best intentions, hopes and dreams. Inevitably, the bubble bursts.

Renee Geweniger Zoltowski from Oak Park  

Posted: September 5th, 2018 12:54 PM

I find it funny that they even ask our opinion. I went to one of these meetings and any ideas or concerns were pretty much ignored. In my opinion they already know what they want to do. This is just giving us lip service.

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