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updated: 2/22/2013 6:36 PM

Kirsten Young: Candidate Profile

Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Kirsten Young, running for Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms)

      Kirsten Young, running for Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms)

 

 

 

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Naperville

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Naperville Park Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 47

Family: Married, 2 boys who attend Washington Junior High

Occupation: I am an attorney and the Director of Sales - Illinois for Integrys Energy Services, Inc.

Education: BA - Public Opinion and Political Behavior - University of Michigan JD - Loyola University of Chicago, School of Law

Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.

Elected offices held: Naperville Park District Park Board Commissioner

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

There is just one campaign issue for me and that's the continued health and vitality of the Park District. While the financial health of the Park District is quite strong, we do face challenges of rising costs that range from local issues, such as water, to national issues, such as the rising costs of health care. In addition the Park District, by voluntarily taking on the multi-year project of pursuing aNo Further Remediation Determination? for Sportsman's Park, has taken on what is likely to be a significant expense, although at this time the amount of the expense remains unknown. Finally the Park District is saddled with finding a home for programming currently at the Barn that cannot be moved to the 95th Street Center. At the same time the Park District needs to maintain its relevance in a digital age and in a community filled with private recreation alternatives. I seek re-election so that I can help the Park District navigate the difficult decisions ahead and help the Park District continue to provide beautifully maintained parks, high quality programming and value to the community.

Key Issue 2

Candidate did not respond.

Key Issue 3

Candidate did not respond.

Questions & Answers

What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?

I understand the question to presume that user fees should cover the costs of providing a program. That is not the current philosophy of the Park Distirct and I would not use the fact that a program is supported in part by tax dollars as the singular criteria for eliminating a program. Arguably all programs receive benefits from tax dollars. The Park District evaluates programs more comprehensively, including interest by our residents and value to the residents when deciding whether to add or remove a program offering.

Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.

I don't know of specific open space that the Park District needs to acquire. The Park District is keenly aware when parcels of land become available and considers the benefits of acquiring that land and balances it against the cost of acquisition and maintenance. At this time I am more interested in finding a location for indoor space, rather than open space, and this may require the Park District to purchase land.

Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them? Or, should they wait until the economy improves?

Our residents tell us through the Community Opinion and Interest Surveys that we conduct that there are not unmet recreational needs. (And, I am distinguishing between needs and desires.) However, with our goal of continuous improvement, I think we could enhance our service to the residents by providing indoor recreational space, an indoor pool, and outdoor chilled ice for ice skating and hockey. The challenge the Park District faces is not the economy. The Park District is in sound financial condition, and I would not provide much consideration to a plan to enhance our services that would require us to go to our residents through a referendum and ask to raise taxes. In fact, because of the economic conditions there is a compelling argument that this is the right time to engage in capital projects because it will provide local jobs and the costs of these projects are lower now than before the recession. The challenge for indoor space and an indoor pool is finding the right location and potentially the right private partner to make any of these endeavors a reasonable decision for the Park District and residents.

Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency?

The Park District does look for ways to combine purchasing efforts with other governmental agencies and to use contracts that provide pre-negotiated discounts that are available to it as a local government. I support these efforts.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

The foundation for all of the accomplishments of my term in office is the team work and singular mindset of the entire Board and leadership team of the Park District to set realistic goals and to achieve them. Commissioners Reilly, Heide and myself shared this goal when we were elected four years ago, and as a result together we implemented a committee system that allows for much better dialogue between Commissioners and with Park District staff through open meetings. The veteran Commissioners (Commissioners Todd and Ory) welcomed this new approach. We also developed a 5 - year Strategic Plan and a decision-making framework so that we have a consistent approach to navigating the various plans that the Park District has developed over time. Without a strong foundation of teamwork, focus, and consistency we never could have developed the West Street ball fields, renovated Seager Park, renovated Centennial Beach bathhouse, expanded Nike Sports Complex, and leased the 95th Street Center within a four year period.

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