Jim Scalzo: Candidate Profile
Lombard Park Board (6-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.
Office sought: Lombard Park Board (6-year Terms)
Family: My wife Nicole and I are going on 13 years of marriage and we have two children, Danielle age 13 and Ethan 9.
Occupation: Creative Director for a Sales and Marketing Company.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Communications/Advertising with emphasis on Graphic Design and Marketing. Bradley University, 1997.
Civic involvement: The success of my work in the community tends to be a result of "quality, not quantity." I have been a volunteer head soccer coach in the Lombard Park District for over 10 seasons. I also was an assistant coach in the Lombard Baseball League. In 2008 I was a member of "People for the Parks," a group dedicated to bringing Lombard its new award winning water park. The work I am most excited about is as a team captain for WalkMS. My wife and I lead a team annually to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have been recognized multiple times as a member of the 'tremendous 200 Club? as a top fundraiser and pushed my team, Nicoli & the Cannoli Crew, to be one of the top performers in the Greater Illinois Chapter.
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
To ensure the Park District continues to meet the needs and desires of Lombard residents when it comes to programming, facilities and use of land. A comprehensive Master Plan is in the process of being developed. Resident input has been sought out through focus groups and surveys. It is vital that we listen to and address the information received from the community and continue to seek out feedback from residents of all ages when considering any new projects or developments in the coming years. For example, if our residents are seeking an improved indoor fitness facility, we should work hard to find ways of making that possible.
Key Issue 2
Financial planning is something Lombard Park District takes pride in and this has been show through the recognition and awards the park staff has received. I agree, the park board should to continue to be financially conservative for the best interest of our taxpayers. To supplement this, I look forward to working hard and offering creative and innovative ideas to help increase revenues at the park districts income producing facilities.
Key Issue 3
I feel the Park District and it's board should do everything in its power to keep the 30 acre parcel of land known as the Ken-Loch golf course property from being developed in a way that is detrimental to the community. The public would benefit most with a balance of open/recreational space.
What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
The mission of the Lombard Park District is "to provide people with quality recreation opportunities to enjoy life." This is what most programs are geared for, not so much to drive profit. The park staff has been pretty consistent at keeping participation rates at or above previous year participation levels. When attendance rates are low, staff and the board need to consider whether additional marketing should take place or whether a program suffers from lack of interest and adjust budgeting accordingly.
Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.
Open space is not easy to find these days and once it's gone, it's gone. As land becomes available the Park District should certainly consider its use. The Ken-Loch Golf course property (30 acres in area) would be a great property acquisition for the Lombard Park District. However, we need to look at how this land will best benefit the community and at what price. It may take a strategic partnership of some form and some creative thinking but, it should not be given up without a fight.
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?
Even if the economy improves we need to be extremely careful with how we propose to use taxpayer money. That being said, we need to investigate now, how we can begin the steps to meeting our community's recreational needs in the near future. Many unmet desires evolve around the park district's lack of a sufficient fitness center. The current facilities and space is limited and hours of operation are not conducive to many peoples' schedules. Providing a new facility, in town, will attract more residents and will help the Park District in offering more Teen and Adult programming. While funding this is not a simple task, the Park District has successfully been awarded grants in the past should continue to pursue outside funding opportunities. The opportunity to increase revenues through sponsorships, advertisements and other marketing projects should not be overlooked.
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?
Any opportunity the Park District has to share or pool resources in order to benefit its residents should be taken. Besides the current partnerships and facility sharing with the school districts and the Village of Lombard we should expand the relationships we have with nearby Park Districts. As long as our residents have recreational needs that are unmet, we should help them find ways supplement what we have to offer. For instance "exchanging" some resources we have that other districts may be missing. If we can make it easier for our residents to use the facilities and programs offered by neighboring districts, we may not have to create duplicate amenities in a facility of our own. Another area not to overlook is to seek out any additional ways to operate as "green" as possible. The park staff has done a great job in this area so far.
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.
I am not trying to become a politician. I am simply a parent and proud resident of Lombard who wants the best for our community. I think it's a good idea and a good time for new faces and new motivation on the Park Board. That said, my family, including school aged children regularly take part in programming and make use of the facilities, both indoor and outdoor provided by our park district. Also, I've had discussions with friends and neighbors of all ages about our parks and what they like and dislike. I feel this makes me a good advocate for all residents of Lombard. With the development of a new comprehensive master plan, this is an exciting time for our Park District. I'm confident that my background and what I can offer will make a great fit with the commissioners who will be retaining their seats on the board. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the Lombard community as a Park Commissioner!
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