Three Hanover Park Park District commissioners with a combined 40 years experience on the parks board face a challenge from two political newcomers in the April 5 election.
Vying for three open seats that carry four-year terms are incumbents Mark Elkins, Michelle "Mickey" Macholl and Charles Morrison, along with challengers Debra Berthelot and Shawqi Mustafa.
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Macholl, a 56-year-old retired executive assistant, is the most veteran commissioner, having served on the board since 1993.
She wants to increase services for teens and update and centralize the district's administrative facility. Macholl also hopes to expand the district's senior programs, saying that while they don't traditionally pay for themselves, they're critical to the population.
Macholl said she's proud that the park district hasn't raised taxes in 20 years, and while it may not enjoy certain amenities such as an indoor pool, it has agreements with neighboring districts allowing residents to use their facilities at discounted rates.
Elkins, an entrepreneur who joined the board two years after Macholl, said his top priority is to hold the line on taxes since Hanover Park's housing market was hit especially hard by the recession.
The 46-year-old said he'll work to protect senior programs, the Seafari Springs Aquatic Center and athletic club, despite the fact they've operated at a deficit. To offset that, he said, programs with low enrollment have been cut and consolidated.
Elkins said he envisions the district one day buying land to build a golf course, or at least a mini-golf course, because they're revenue generators and enhance communities. He also thinks it's important to proceed with a safety town, a skate park and a splash pad sprinkler system.
Morrison, the Bloomingdale Township Republican committeeman, said he wants to provide recreational experiences that address cultural diversity and the community's changing interests, as well as develop a master plan to renovate parks and facilities.
The 77-year-old Department of Defense retiree said he was instrumental in implementing the district's website and revamped mission statement, and is the driving force behind the five-year rolling cash flow plan.
Berthelot, a 57-year-old office administrator, said that in addition to focusing on fiscal responsibility and maintaining outdoor parks, she wants the district to actively promote itself so that Hanover Park appeals to families.
She'd like to see the district consider adding traveling soccer for adults and explore buying land along the DuPage River to add picnic areas or bike paths. Berthelot said she's looking to give back to the community now that her daughters are grown, adding that what she lacks in experience she'll make up with hard work.
Mustafa, a 49-year-old messenger and salesman, would like to see the district expand its soccer program and build dedicated soccer fields due to interest in the Hispanic community.
He said some district facilities are in desperate need of updating, and wants the district to explore ways to provide amenities such as an indoor pool rather than turning to other communities. He also believes he's needed on the board to represent a growing Muslim population.