The park board voted unanimously last week to approve a resolution committing the district to seeking financial independence from Oak Park village government.
The resolution, proposed by board president Tim Kelly, calls in part for the district to seek ownership of the recreation buildings currently owned by the village, on “terms jointly determined by the village and the park district.”
“I think the resolution draws on the recommendations of the citizen committee and the direction the park district has been going,” said park commissioner Tom Philion. “We are taking responsibility, and that’s a real challenge. We’ll have to turn to the community. I’m hopeful that we’ll be successful.”
The approved resolution follows:
A Resolution Accepting the Recommendation on Governance by the Park District Citizen Committee
? WHEREAS, the Park District of Oak Park was created principally out of a determination that the highest quality park and recreation facilities and programs for the residents of the Village of Oak Park could be created and delivered most efficiently and effectively if park and recreation administrative functions were vested in a separate, statutory park district rather than in a department of the Village; and
? WHEREAS, since the creation of the Park District, the park and recreation needs and expectations of Oak Park residents have grown and the administration and operations of the Park District have expanded to meet those needs and expectations; and
? WHEREAS, the Village and the Park District have always enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship, and the sharing of resources over the years has resulted in the development of park and recreation facilities and programs that would not otherwise have been possible at the time; and
? WHEREAS, efficiencies in the creation, delivery, maintenance, and administration of park and recreation facilities and programs can be achieved through the consolidation of ownership and administration of park and recreational facilities under a single entity; and
? WHEREAS, after extensive and thorough studies of many aspects of the Park District, including its facilities, programs, and administration, the Park District Citizen Committee (“PDCC”) determined that it would be beneficial for Oak Park residents if all responsibilities for park and recreation facilities, programs, and functions were consolidated entirely in a single entity, that is, in the Park District that was created to handle those responsibilities; and
? WHEREAS, the PDCC thus has recommended that the Village and Park District should determine to consolidate, and to vest responsibilities for and authority over, all park and recreation facilities, programs, and functions solely in the Park District; and
? WHEREAS, the President and Board of Commissioners of the Park District concur in the recommendation of the PDCC, believing that better, more efficient, and more effective administration and delivery of high quality park and recreational facilities and programs can be created, delivered, and maintained if all ownership and responsibility for such matters is vested in the Park District; and
? WHEREAS, the President and Board of Commissioners also believe that such a change will not have any adverse effects on the mutually beneficial relationship between the Village and the Park District, but indeed will enhance that relationship by allowing the Village and Park District each to sharpen its focus on its own responsibilities and then together be better able to discern how to mutually undertake certain activities in a manner beneficial to Oak Park residents;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the President and Board of Commissioners of the Park District of Oak Park, Cook County and State of Illinois, as follows:
Section 1. Recitals. The foregoing recitals are incorporated into this Resolution as findings and determinations of the President and Board of Commissioners.
Section 2. Commitment to Consolidation of Responsibilities. The Village and the Park District should work together to consolidate park and recreation responsibilities and functions within the Village and vest those responsibilities and functions in the Park District. The Village and the Park District, as part of that work, should analyze and determine the financial effects of the consolidation. The consolidation should include vesting of all administrative responsibilities and functions in the Park District and transfer by the Village to the Park District of ownership of the various park and recreation facilities and property now owned by the Village, on terms jointly determined by the Village and the Park District.
Section 3. Commitment to Continuing Beneficial Relationship. The Park District shall continue its commitment to working openly and cooperatively with the Village at all times to assure that it is fulfilling its duties and functions in the best possible manner for Oak Park residents.