As a young couple with a growing family, my wife and I bought our home and moved to the area as first-time homeowners about 8 years ago. We knew this place would be ideal for us to grow old and raise our children to come. With the amount of green space and great schools, this was our future haven.
Back then we only had a toddler, so it took us a few years to experience our school system. However, right from the start after making this town our home, we began using the parks. It did not take long to realize there was much work to do. I found the park district utterly unresponsive on several issues, including safety concerns in some of our parks.
Even with three kids and two jobs, I found time to volunteer to coach youth soccer programs for our neighborhood kids. As we spent time with soccer, it dawned on me that a growing number of families sign up their kids to similar programs in neighboring towns instead of Medinah.
A few years ago, I started attending the monthly board meetings regularly and tried to be a voice for my community as best as I could, talked to my neighbors and other residents, parents wherever possible, and I realized that I was not the only resident who expected more from our district. I genuinely believe that the current board’s hands-off/back seat approach to parks management is hurting our community. Although I don’t believe it’s the board’s job to micromanage our parks’ day-to-day operations, it is the board’s DUTY to find a good balance between how and where our tax dollars are spent, what programs really do make sense, which are popular and being requested by the residents and how those programs are managed, what criteria are used for giving out contracts to third parties and so on.
Losing more and more residents to neighboring towns for programs we already offer or fail to offer might in fact create a deficit that may need to be filled with a property tax increase in the future. Are you willing to shoulder that? I am not! I strongly believe that with a board that is more engaged with the community, more hands on leadership, we can turn this ship around before it’s too late!
- I would like to inspect and go through every budget from the last five years, item by item, programs with their revenue generation and attendance records.
- I would like to push to completely modernize our digital/social media engagement by starting with our website. It took this board two years or more of hearing me pressing for a complete overhaul of our website before the current park administration began planning on some changes right before an election. Timing is everything, I guess.
- I would like our community outreach efforts to increase tenfold and would like us to start with a “citizens’ advisory committee” that meets quarterly to give us direct, unbiased feedback from residents, people like you! The people who own and use the parks and facilities the most.
- The gap between Medinah and neighboring towns is widening in many aspects other than top management’s pay scale. My focus would be to push for implementation of a better balance in staff compensation and benefits, stop pay raises for anyone who gets a six figure salary with a benefits package for such poor performance over the years, and to make Medinah parks more attractive to new talent. We need passionate, energetic and idealist individuals.
To read more about the vision I have for our parks, please click the link below!
Most importantly, please get out to VOTE on April 4th, 2023.
Where did you move to Medinah from?
Thank you for the question. I moved to Medinah from Chicago.