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updated: 2/22/2013 6:05 PM

Karrsten Goettel: Candidate Profile

St. Charles Park Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Karrsten Goettel, running for St. Charles Park Board (4-year Terms)

    Karrsten Goettel, running for St. Charles Park Board (4-year Terms)




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



City: St. Charles

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: St. Charles Park Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 41

Family: Married, three children

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor of Science - Economics; UW-Madison, 1993 Juris Doctor - Loyola University - Chicago, 1997

Civic involvement: St. Charles Housing Commission - Member Celtics Mens Soccer Club - Officer/Director

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

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

Strive to continue the success of the Park District in meeting the active and passive recreational needs of the taxpayers in a fiscally responsible manner.

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?

Analyzing the value of a program purely from the standpoint of whether it is self-sustaining or not does not assist in carrying out some of the core missions with which the Park District is charged. The key is balance in the overall budget of the District, which to my knowledge prior to my term and during the last eight years in which I have served on the Board, has always been one of the healthiest overall budgets of the local taxing bodies. The District has continually received stellar marks regarding the operating budget as reflected in the highest municipal bond ratings. Balance is needed as there are specific programs which the District expects to be self-sustaining and there are programs in which the District does not have an expectation of sufficient revenue to cover costs. Some examples of these programs and services include the programming carried out at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, Primrose Farm, Teen and Senior Centers. The programming in these facilities is less about the generation of revenue as it is about the education of our children (and adults) about the importance of nature, including the conservation and preservation of our natural resources, and our heritage as an agricultural community. The teen center provides a necessary, dedicated location for teen children to go and participate in many productive activities or to just hang out in an activity filled environment with others. The senior center is similar in that it is a dedicated gathering place for many to seek friendship and enjoy activities and organized outings. That being said, the Board and staff have always kept an open mind as to ideas of different ways to generate revenue at various locations, including the facility rental for receptions and dinners at Hickory Knolls, recently bidding out the farm land at Primrose Farm to increase the farming rental and continually seeking donations and grants to assist in funding the teen and senior center's objectives. Programs that should be self-sustaining and not achieving desired results from a funding perspective will always be critically reviewed. In the end, regardless of whether or not a particular program is self-sustaining, there are certain programs deemed too important to the District to be evaluated strictly on the criteria of whether or not such program pays for itself. I believe the Park District has always done an exceptional job in meeting the needs of the users in balancing the programming and offering services and opportunities for new ideas and activities.

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

The District, at least in my tenure as a board member, has always evaluated each opportunity to acquire open land individually withneed? being a variable in the overall decision making process. The Park District is blessed with a tremendous amount of open space, an invaluable resource to be enjoyed by everyone. When the opportunity presents itself to the District it must be taken seriously, as it is an opportunity to ensure that generations to come will have adequate open land space for recreation, education and enjoyment. If the land is lost to development, the opportunity may be gone indefinitely. We can never fully know if the acquisition is one worth pursuing until the opportunity presents itself. The District has identified in the District's Master Plan certain areas and parcels in which we would possibly have an interest in. However, even when such opportunities arise, many questions are necessary to determine whether the District would pursue the acquisition, including price, programming possibilities, financial resources of the District, grant and outside funding availability, partnerships with other taxing bodies and of courseneed?. What the Board likes are opportunities to take advantage and leverage resources of the various local government entities in partnerships to obtain more access to open land for our citizens - allowing all partners tostretch the dollar? so to speak. An example of this type of partnership is the recent opening of the River Bend Community Park. The land was acquired by the Kane County Forest Preserve and leased to the Park District for programming purposes. This partnership allowed both taxing bodies to bring much needed open space to the area by sharing resources. In addition, the partnership strengthened the opportunity to receive grant funding and allowed the District to access state funds for assistance, creating even less of a financial burden on the local taxpayers.

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?

In analyzing recent survey responses and in speaking to a number of the Park District's recreation user groups, the question of whether or not the District should be looking toward a recreation facility or center in the future is one that the District has identified. The rapid growth of lacrosse, pickleball and rugby, in addition to the increased demand by basketball, volleyball, soccer, football and baseball for additional indoor space has put the question on the District's agenda. In addition, such a facility would allow the district to expand programming possibilities for all types of indoor activities which utilize such a recreation facility, including the possibility of a park district run fitness center. In determining whether or not this is indeed an unmet need, the District is in the early stages of the evaluation process, which will include confirmation via public input either by surveys and committees. If indeed the need is confirmed by the Park District, a significant portion of the financing for the construction for such a facility would need to be secured through a referendum. The District would contribute what it could from its available resources and applications would be made for every available grant. In addition, the District would pursue and consider possibilities of some intergovernmental shared use/financing or private partnerships with some of the potential user groups to assist in the funding of such a project. If the District is to move forward with a referendum, then the question of whether such should wait to a better economic climate may be irrelevant. If the process has been carried out correctly in identifying a demand of the community and the District has worked with the community both in communicating its ideas and the solicitation of input, then the community would be behind such an endeavor. When the District passed the referendum to provide funding for the construction of Otter Cove and Hickory Knolls as well providing funding for the major reconstruction at Swanson (Pottawatomie) Pool, the District took great care in confirming that this was indeed what the residents wanted and was a need of the District. That referendum was undertaken in a less than desirable economic climate, yet the public supported the tax increase.

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?

Yes, I would support resource sharing with the other local government entities. In fact, a fair amount of resource sharing already is taking place between the Park District and other entities, in particular where one agency has efficiency in a particular area. Examples include the Baker Station after school daycare program, landscape maintenance and services and promotion of community events with the City and land ownership and leasing with the Forest Preserve. In the monthly Intergovernmental Meeting, the local agencies in St. Charles already have a medium for discussion to promote dialogue and idea sharing. The relationship and communication between the entities is already established and in place. The next step would be to organize a specific discussion to identify additional means of possible resource sharing and being creative in what can be done with various assets held by each entity in starting the discussion nothing should beoff the table? so to speak, whether it be land, facilities, equipment, cooperative purchasing of services or staff. In the end each governmental body cannot forego fulfilling its purpose and its duty to its taxpayers. Once items have been identified and the shared use has been reviewed by each party as something that can be accomplished, agreements should then be reached to implement these resource sharing ideas.

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 an incumbent for the past eight years, as follows is a list of leadership positions and a summary of initiatives completed under the terms of leadership: -Current President of the Park Board; -Vice-President of the Park Board from 2008-2012; -Chairman of the Aquatic Ad Hoc Advisory Committee (Referendum Committee established 2007); In my successive terms on the Park Board beginning in 2003, the District has been involved in an unprecedented period of growth in both capital improvements and the expanded quality of services. The St. Charles Park District has once again been a finalist consistently for the National Park and Recreation Association Gold Medal Award (2007, 2008 and 2012), played a large role in the award St. Charles received in 2011 as the best place to raise a family as awarded by Family Circle Magazine and continues to receive various distinctions for the Pottawatomie Golf Course. In addition, recent additions of facilities and parks such as Otter Cove, Hickory Knolls, River Bend Community Park, Primrose Farm, Randall Road Bike Bridge, Delnor Woods park expansion and acquisition of the land for the future Belgium Town Park, along with a multitude of other renovations and capital improvements has allowed the district to receive a multitude of awards and praise from the community. All of the above have been achieved without foregoing the district's budget responsibilities and completed as a reflection of the community's desires. The Park District has historically maintained a very high community/constituent approval rating (in excess of 90%), and I look forward to contributing to that once again in serving another term.