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updated: 8/3/2011 5:53 AM

Glen Ellyn Park District meetings might stream on website

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Meetings of the Glen Ellyn Park District board of commissioners could be coming to a computer near you.

In an effort to increase transparency of the park district, board members have directed district staff to explore options for recording board meetings, so residents who can't make the meetings in person can still watch on their own schedules.

During a board meeting Tuesday, board members endorsed a plan that would provide live streaming and on demand viewing of board meetings on the park district website.

Videos would be embedded on the park district's website, and have a split screen feature where viewers could watch the meeting while looking at the board packet at the same time. The service is provided by Granicus, a San Francisco-based company that streams and archives video for governmental bodies.

"It makes it really simple for someone to truly follow the meeting, to truly understand what's going on," said Kathleen Talenco, the park district's marketing and communications supervisor.

It would cost an estimated $3,580 to purchase and set up professional video equipment in the board room, located at the Spring Avenue Recreation Center at 185 Spring Ave. A camera would be permanently installed in the back of the room and be readily available for meetings.

Another option considered would utilize a "consumer-quality" camcorder that would be placed on a tripod and taken down after meetings. That would cost $2,630.

The annual cost for the service, paid to Granicus, is between $4,800 and $6,000, Talenco said.

Glen Ellyn could be one of the few park districts in the area to have online video for meetings. Of the 24 park districts responding to a Glen Ellyn Park District survey, two record and post meeting videos online.

Board Vice President Jay Kinzler said the cost was reasonable to "get the word out" about the park district board.

After the 2009 election, Kinzler, current Board President Melissa Creech and Commissioner Julia Nephew proposed transparency initiatives such as televising board meetings. But those proposals were rejected in 4-3 votes -- as were many items considered by the split park board.

Following the April election of three board members who campaigned on similar themes of openness and fiscal restraint in government, the new board decided to introduce transparency initiatives again.

Creech said the video system could be in place by January.