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updated: 5/4/2011 12:35 AM

Glen Ellyn Park District cuts costs

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A new majority of Glen Ellyn Park District board commissioners wasted no time Tuesday implementing measures intended to emphasize fiscal restraint.

It was the first board meeting with newly elected Commissioners Richard Dunn, Kathy Cornell and Gary Mayo, who ousted 12-year incumbent Ed Hess in the April election. They were endorsed by current Commissioners Melissa Creech, Jay Kinzler and Julia Nephew, who ran together as a slate two years before.

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In their first action, all six voted to halt construction of a safety village at Maryknoll Park, located at Pershing Avenue and Route 53. The one holdover from Hess' majority, Ron Aubrey, was the lone vote against.

Kinzler said he was concerned with a deficit the last board had approved, and costs related to an early retirement program and roof leakage at the Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center.

On April 19, the previous board accepted a base bid of $69,252 from Copenhaver Construction for paving and concrete installation on one-third of the safety village site.

Board attorney Nicole Karas said the park district would have to give the contractor a seven-day written notice of the contract termination. Superintendent of Parks Dave Scarmardo said he would call the contractor first thing Wednesday morning.

The safety village had been part of larger plans at Maryknoll Park, including a 1,200-square foot warming hut near four existing platform tennis courts. Creech, who was selected by commissioners as the new board president, said the park district's current agreement with the Glen Ellyn Platform Tennis Club would still be honored, but that it would have to be renegotiated because the project is currently over budget.

Under the deal, the club is donating $153,650 for construction, plus an additional $10,000 for cost overruns. The Glen Ellyn Parks Foundation is donating $30,000, and the park district will pay $200,000.

Still, there's an extra $26,000 gap between projects costs and money remaining, according to park district officials.

The board voted 6-1 to renegotiate with the club to see if there are additional funds. If unsuccessful, the project's scope could be changed or it could be stopped where it is.

Scarmardo said there's likely another $25,000 that could be reduced with change orders for electrical work and carpeting.

The board also voted 7-0 to direct park district staff to find ways to reduce the budget by another $332,895 -- the amount of an early retirement program payment -- in addition to cuts staff had already proposed to fill a $361,555 budget gap.

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