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posted: 12/27/2012 5:55 PM

Three new names in race for Arlington Heights Park Board

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The Arlington Heights Park District board will have a few new faces in 2013 as two commissioners will retire and three new candidates will compete to fill their spots.

Board President Maryfran Leno has filed papers for another term, but Robert Whisler and Robert Smith, will not run. Whisler was on the board for 12 years, Smith for 16.

Two members of a group supporting the failed proposal for a $39 million bond issue, William Ploger and Tim Gelinas, will compete for those seats with each other and Jona Augustyn, an 18-year-old student at Buffalo Grove High School.

"The park board needs some younger voices and I can represent that," said Augustyn.

Augustyn said he was against the proposal to raise taxes to renovate most of the major parks in Arlington Heights, but that he does think the parks should be redone.

"The parks should be improved, but the people should be the last to pay for it," Augustyn said, adding that he would possibly support a smaller, more gradual package.

The $39 million bond issue failed with the voters in the November election, while a larger $48 million plan failed last March.

Tim Gelinas helped form Arlington Heights People For Our Parks, a group that rallied residents in favor of the referendum plan. While he was disappointed voters didn't pass it, he said it was good practice for how to run a campaign.

"Hopefully this will have a different outcome," Gelinas said. "I want to help solve the problems the referendum was trying to solve and the best way I can do that would be to get involved."

Ploger was also a member of the group.

"This is my chance to give back to the village and oversee how the park district is cared for in a responsible way," he said. "I met a lot of people who voted 'no' and who voted 'yes' so that encouraged me to want to serve both sides."

Ploger said he thinks the park district will need to take a break for a little while and then come back with possibly a smaller bond issue.

The four candidates will compete for three park commissioner spots in the April 9, 2013 municipal consolidated election.

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