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updated: 2/23/2011 4:06 PM

Donald R. Cook: Candidate Profile

Lisle parks

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  • Donald R. Cook, running for Lisle parks

    Donald R. Cook, running for Lisle 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: Lisle

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Lisle parks

Age: 59

Family: Married, Tracey

2 Adult Children; Daughter Carla 24; Son Donald J (DJ) 21

Occupation: Seasonal Employee @ The Morton Arboretum,

Retired Bureau Chief of Maintenance, Lisle-Woodridge Fire District

Education: St. Joan of Arc Grade School, Lisle Community High School, College of DuPage, Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Civic involvement: Board of Trustee, Lisle Woodridge Firefighters Pension Board, Lisle Heritage Society, Meadows Homeowners Assn., International Association of Fire Chiefs, Lisle Woodridge Firefighters Local 2986, National Recreation and Park Assn., Wind & Fire Firefighter/Harley Davidson Organization, National Harley Owners Group, Morton Arboretum

Elected offices held: Lisle Park Board Commissioner, 1998-current.

Lisle Woodridge Firefighter Pension Board, 2005-current.

President, Illinois Fire Apparatus Mechanics Assn.

President, International Association of Fire Chiefs Apparatus Maintenance Section

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

As an incumbent, I am running again to serve on the Park Board because I believe we have done a good job in the past. We are a team and I have enjoyed working with the other board members. Since 2005 we have maintained a balanced budget, even through these difficult financial times. I believe I have contributed to the success with my leadership as Park Board President. As a retired firefighter, I'm pleased to have the time to visit the neighborhood parks, meet with staff, attend park events, and attend Park/Recreation educational workshops. When I first ran for Park Commissioner, my motivation was to serve the community without a personal agenda and that hasn't changed. I want to continue on the board to help provide the community with the best services possible within an environment of fiscal restraint.

Key Issue 2

I believe I have a commitment to the future tempered with responsible decision making. We were faced with an aging Community Center and sky-rocketing rent at the Meadows Center. We went to the community with a proposal to build a new facility. The community said no and we listened. But we still needed to take care of our park programs and facilities. We found a suitable alternative that saved the district money with the purchase of the building at 1925 Ohio. I look forward to overseeing the development of this facility.

Key Issue 3

Candidate did not respond.

Questions & Answers

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

In 2009, the Park District offered over 415 programs with only fifteen losing money. All programs are evaluated by enrollment, profitability, and affordability. Guidelines are in place to eliminate poor performing programs.

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

The results of the 2010 Community Survey indicated that the people want the Park District to maintain the current open space. If a new parcel becomes available, it would be reviewed at that time.

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?

Our residents have told us through the 2010 Community Survey that their priorities are adult fitness and wellness programs. When requests are made, we review the budget to see if it can be accommodated. If not, we look to find a sponsor or keep it in mind for the future when it can be afforded (within the budget).

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?

I am always looking for ways to save money for the Park District, whether it is sponsorships, grants, and/or partnerships as well as working with other local governments. The Park District does save money by sharing and/or working with Lisle School District 202, Village of Lisle, Lisle Chamber of Commerce, Lisle Convention Bureau, SEASPAR, PDRMA, Lisle Baseball/Softball Organization, Partners for Parks, and other surrounding park districts.

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.

I have participated on the Board for the following accomplishments: maintenance of a balanced budget since 2005; purchase of park land from the Village of Lisle for Peach Creek Park; the 190% increase in net revenue for the Community Park Fitness since 2008; the purchase of 1925 Ohio Street building to improve our programming; the rebuilding of Woodglenn Park; improvements at Sea Lion Aquatic Pool ; the 109% increase in Sea Lion Aquatic Pool net revenue since 2008; and, free movies in the park.

Of these accomplishments, I am most proud that we were able to act on a vision for the future by purchasing the 1925 Ohio facility without raising taxes. This purchase provides a way to accommodate growth when we can afford it but also assists us in meeting our current needs in a fiscally responsible fashion. We took our responsibilities seriously as guardians of the Park District's future but also as dedicated public servants.

Future projects include replacing College Road Park Bridge, installing a canoe launch in Community Park, making major improvements to the girls' softball field, and accommodating Dupage County's construction of the Dupage Regional Trail through Community Park and Riverbend Golf Course.