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updated: 6/21/2011 7:49 PM

Lake Zurich trustees reject Paulus Park improvements

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By Danielle Gensburg

Lake Zurich village board members have rejected a nearly $1 million proposal to make improvements at Paulus Park, primarily because of cost concerns.

The board members voted unanimously Monday to table the proposal after months of discussions, planning, and feedback for the second phase of improvements at the park at 200 S. Rand Road.

Many trustees expressed concerns the overall project cost, estimated at $980,000, would deplete the Parks and Improvement Fund for future changes to the other parks. "I think we're premature with this," Trustee Richard Sustich said. "I'm worried about the price in terms of being able to fund future improvements to the other parks in the village."

He emphasized his concern over how the village would pay for the improvements.

"Is the suggestion that the village raise additional taxes on residents in order to pay for these improvements?," he said.

Trustee Tom Poynton agreed.

"I can't make heads or tails of what we're paying for here," Poynton said, adding "I too would like to see this tabled."

Trustees also raised questions about going forward with the proposal when the village's Open Space Master Plan has not been updated.

That plan, last approved in 2004, aims to address the needs and wants of the community regarding its parks, open space, and programs offered by the village's parks and recreation department.

Parks officials had been working with Norris Design consultants for the past couple of months on the Paulus Park improvement proposal.

It included a large amphitheater and shelter, a boardwalk, interpretive signage, a new fishing dock, additional entrances, pathways and seating, restored wetlands, more energy efficient restroom fixtures and a tree house-inspired playground with interactive structures.

Norris officials had planned to submit an OSLAD (Open Space and Land Acquisition Development) grant application by July 1 for $400,000 in funding for the project. Actual construction was planned for fall 2012.

Dawn Brazier, chairwoman of the village's parks and recreation advisory board, emphasized the need for the improvements.

"Paulus Park is the biggest and most utilized of our parks," Brazier said.

She also emphasized the need to make changes in order to generate revenue for the village.

"We need to look at ways to start bringing in revenue, and these improvements can do that," she said. "The community feels this is a good use of the money and these are the types of things we'd like to see."