An open letter to my fellow Arlington Heights Residents:
For anyone who didn't have a chance to attend a parks referendum
meeting I was curious so I attended a few. That gave me a chance to
hear from both park commissioners and several different residents
Here are some of the most common things that came up:
Wasn't there a vote in the spring? There was and while it did not pass the margin was extremely close. The commissioners explained how they incorporated input from the spring in planning this new fall
referendum which is about 20% smaller in scope and cost. The new plan is also more consolidated and more multi-functional so the same
facilities would be renovated to include multiple sports and fitness.
Because the old pool bonds will be retiring this new parks referendum would only increase things about $2 a month on average.
What is the need behind this plan? The park district regularly runs surveys, tracks program data and has meetings with residents. They said all of that input was incorporated into the building renovation plans. The commissioners explained that several programs are literally out of room in the existing decades-old buildings. They also discussed how Arlington Heights residents are driving to other park districts to use their more modern facilities. On top of that, they also described how the use at the new Pioneer Park building tripled after it was built.
Will operating expenses go up? The park district explained that operating expenses for programs and building use are covered by and large through program fees rather than taxes. It sounds like a solid business model!
Does the park district work with schools? Yes, in spades. They described how well they work with all the school districts. They share gyms, baseball fields, soccer fields and more. They even saved money by sharing with Hersey High School's new football/soccer field and also use the St. Viators Theater for the annual park district dance recital.
Will the historic Rec Park building be saved and what happens to Frontier Days? I heard the park commissioners very clearly explain the renovation plans that will save the historic Rec Park building. They also talked about how Frontier Days will stay at Rec Park and won't need to be shut down or moved at all.
With all the information the park district has provided and all the questions I heard them answer I am confident this is a great plan for the future of Arlington Heights.
I strongly encourage my fellow residents to Vote Yes for our Parks!
Mark and Nancie Frighetto, Arlington Heights residents.