Susan C. Vander Veen: Candidate Profile
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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.
Office sought: Geneva parks
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
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: N/A
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.
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
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