Phil Stanko: Candidate Profile
Cary 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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Cary Park Board (6-year Terms)
Age: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Candidate did not respond.
Occupation: Former High School Science Teacher and Department Chairman
Education: BS Biology, Illinois State University, 1975 MS Biology, Northeastern Illinois University, 1985 MA Environmental Studies, Northeastern Illinois University, 1994
Civic involvement: Land Conservancy of McHenry County Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
Elected offices held: Cary Park District Commissioner, 1987-2011
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Refocus our direction to completing smaller projects that provide a concrete recreational benefit to park users while sustaining our parks, staff and programs. Some examples: 1) replace Timbertown at Kaper Park; 2) submit a grant for a trail extension that connects Hoffman Park Trail to the new Rt 31 trail providing our local trail system with a direct connection to the regional trail system; 3) place backstops and field goal nets in the appropriate local retention basin at parks to allow practice places for organized teams and a place for pickup games for non-organized play; 4) implement a low cost planting program for native plants in buffer areas at Sands-Main Street Prairie to increase plant diversity and improve the ecosystem's stability; 5) eliminate the standing water at Hillhurst Park to provide more usuable open space for active play.
Key Issue 2
Resolve the issues surrounding the Chalet golf course by having a referendum to determine whether the Cary Park District should purchase a second golf course.
Key Issue 3
Work with other branches of local government to keep debt down and keep taxes down where possible. The Cary Park District does not exist in a vacuum. In these challenging economic times, we need to work to develop revenue generating initiatives or ones that can be accomplished with existing revenues. In 2018, the debt on Hoffman Park will be retired. The taxes presently being used to pay off that debt should be used to pay off other general obligation bonds like the ones on Cary Grove Park. By retiring the debt more quickly will bring taxes down.
What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
A lot of attention has been placed on golf courses. While Foxford Hills is generating revenues to pay down its debt, expenses incurred to maintain the course have caused the overall debt to increase. We can improve this situation by refinancing the existing debt on Foxford Hills golf course while interest rates are low in order: - to reduce the interest on the outstanding debt and lengthen the term for the debt service; and - to keep the yearly payments as low as possible so that revenues from the golf course can continue to be the sole source of income to pay down debt service and maintain the golf course until the debt is retired.
Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.
Need may be the wrong word, but I believe the people near Maplewood School feel the need for that space to remain open space. That is in the older part of the Village of Cary, an area that would clearly benefit from the area remaining open space. Maplewood was built back in the 1920's when the population of Cary was about 500. Maplewood has been open space throughout most of Cary's history and should remain so. An agreement needs to be worked out with School District 26 so that can happen.
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?
A large part of the community would like to see a new community center and Cary Grove Park developed. While I support those initiatives, I believe they need to wait until the economy improves and other branches of local government get their needs met.
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?
I have always supported pooling of resources where feasible. The Park District presently works with the Village of Cary, Algonquin Township, and local schools. We need to look for other resources that are available and other opportunities to work cooperatively. One example would be the new gym at Holy Cross Church.
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.
As a former commissioner, I have an excellent record of service and have been a leader in preserving open space and providing recreational opportunities. Here are some examples. Lead the initiative to acquire Sands-Main Street Prairie, which significantly increased the open space holdings of the park district at that time and did so at no cost to the taxpayers. Rewrote the Village of Cary Subdivision Control Ordinance on park donations to require developers to provide park space for park donation rather than retention/detention facilities for parks. Wrote the park district's first written comprehensive plan. Pushed for a program that sequenced and provided for the timely construction of playgrounds in subdivisions. Supported both of the renovations/additions to the existing community center. Developed the plan for the park district's first comprehensive trail system and lead the push for trails. Pushed for the use of matching grants to fund projects in order to get the most of our local dollars.
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