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updated: 9/13/2012 2:56 PM

West Chicago parks appoints new commissioner

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  • Tony Zaputil

      Tony Zaputil

 

West Chicago Park District officials this week appointed Anthony Zaputil to a vacant commissioner seat that expires in May.

Zaputil replaces Bill Spelman, who resigned in early August and said he is considering a run for mayor in April.

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Zaputil's park district seat will also be up during that election for an unexpired four-year term.

A West Chicago resident for 18 years, Zaputil previously ran for a seat in the spring 2009 election but was removed from the ballot, after the DuPage County Election Commission ruled in favor of a challenge to his nominating petition.

"The park district has always been very important to (my family)," Zaputil said. "We've always been involved in the programs. And I know they have some big decisions coming up with the rec center, and I've been very vocal in my support, so it seemed like a good time to jump back in."

As a commissioner, Zaputil said he would like to be part of the project to build a new community recreation center in Reed-Keppler Park. Last month the park district put a referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot to ask permission to borrow $15 million for the project.

If voters approve, property taxes for the owner of a $250,000 house would increase about $65 a year, officials said. The proposed 65,000-square-foot facility would house a walking/jogging track, an area for seniors, multipurpose gymnasiums, a fitness area, dance studios, a soccer/lacrosse area, an indoor playground and other core recreation and fitness amenities.

"We look at the statistics and obesity rates are rising, plus we are one of the few towns in our area that doesn't have this," Zaputil said. "It's not even a luxury at this point. We have to have it so our kids and seniors have a safe and secure environment where they can join activities."

Zaputil, his wife, Patti, and their two children, have participated in park district programs for many years, including baseball, football, basketball, softball, after-school programs, dance and summer camps.

He also served as a volunteer coach for the district's baseball, softball, and basketball programs, and previously served three years on the park district's baseball board of directors.

Executive Director Gary Major said Zaputil's wide-ranging involvement made him stand out from the other two applicants who applied for the post.

"He really has a global understanding of the different programs, and he doesn't have an agenda for one particular activity," Major said.

When his seat expires in May, Zaputil said he plans to campaign for the post.

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