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updated: 3/9/2011 1:19 PM

Susan C. Vander Veen: Candidate Profile

Geneva parks

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  • Susan C. Vander Veen, running for Geneva parks

    Susan C. Vander Veen, running for Geneva parks




Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Geneva


Office sought: Geneva parks

Age: 55

Family: Married, 2 Children, 1 Grandchild

Occupation: Registered Landscape Architect

Education: BLA, Michigan State University

Civic involvement: Geneva Garden Club, 1995 to present; Pres. 2003-2006, Geneva Cultural Arts, Geneva Beautification, St. Peter Barn Sale & Harvest Moon Auction

Elected offices held: Geneva Park Board Commissioner, 1999- present

2009- present: President

2003-2009: Vice President

2001-2003: Treasurer

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: N/A

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Committed to respond to the needs & requests identified in our current Community Survey in a fiscally responsible way. In this difficult economy, GPD will continue to explore and implement creative ways to fund our district activities through alternative revenue sources such as user fees and grants.

Key Issue 2

Retain the quality of service and maintenance of our parks, facilities and recreation programs while exercising our responsible fiscal policies.

Key Issue 3

Continue to work with all government agencies to deliver quality services in an effort to enhance value for taxpayers by sharing resources.

Questions & Answers

What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?

The recreation staff and board continually evaluate all our programs for participation and cost. If numbers are low, we eliminate or change programs to make them work. Some programs do not pay for themselves, yet are popular and important to our residents so we offset costs with user fees or sponsor dollars.

Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.

Open space historically rates high on our Community Surveys and was a top priority in the survey conducted in 2010. When evaluating open space opportunities we look at location, potential use of space, price and how it can be financed responsibly.

Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them? Or, should they wait until the economy improves?

The 2010 Community Survey indicates residents are extremely happy with the Geneva Park District's programs, facilities and parks. There are some manageable requests that we can work into our yearly budgets without referendums.

Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency?

Our mission is to offer the best parks & recreation as efficiently as we can to our residents. An important element to this success is working with other agencies, which we have done for years. Examples of inter-governmental endeavors: Skate Park, gyms at Harrison & Western Ave Schools, gymnastics at GHS, Before & After School Programing, bike trails and Community Gardens at Prairie Green. We will continue to explore ways to work with local governments to deliver services to our community proficiently.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

As an incumbent, I was part of the team that led the Open Space Referendum of 2000. As commissioner and registered landscape architect, I was instrumental in the design of the butterfly house, sensory gardens and George's Circle (amphitheater) at Peck Farm. We built the popular Steve Persinger Recreation Center at Peck Farm, Sprayground at Moore Park,and developed Sandholm Park. Awards the park district has received during my tenure include:

1999: Outstanding Facility Award, Peck Farm Park, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

1999- Present: Park District Risk Management Agency Accredited Status

1999: Illinois Association of Park Districts Distinguished Accreditation

2002: PFP Landscaping Award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & Chicago Wilderness Conservation

2002: Platinum National Safety Award from Ellis & Associates -- "International Aquatic Safety Consultants" for achieving the highest quality of lifeguard professionalism and operational safety standards in the National Pool and Waterpark Lifeguard System

2003: Outstanding Facility & Parks Award, Peck Farm Butterfly House, Illinois Park and Recreation Association

2005: Illinois Association of Park Districts Distinguished Accreditation

2008: Best Aquatic Facility, Sunset Pool / Moore Park Sprayground, National Recreation and Park Association

2010: Leadership in Conservation Award, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness Conservation

2010: Conservation and Native Landscape Award for Mill Creek Community Park , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness Conservation

2011: Illinois Association of Park Districts Distinguished Accreditation