New faces joining Mt. Prospect parks leadership
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Quite a bit of change has come to the leadership ranks of the Mount Prospect Park District.
Just about a month ago, the district's longtime CEO, Walter Cook, retired. He was replaced by Gregory Kuhs, whose official title is executive director.
On April 9, three new commissioners were elected to the park board — Bill Starr, Raymond Massie and Stephen Kurka. They will be sworn into office next month.
That swearing-in ceremony will also bring the terms of three existing commissioners to an end. Julie Caporusso, first elected to the board in 2009, lost her bid for re-election. Gary Grouwinkel and current board president John Eilering chose not to run again. Between them, Grouwinkel and Eilering had served on the board for 28 years.
Eilering said he believes the changes will be good for the district.
"I think it's important to make way for new people and new ideas," he said.
Eilering decided to step down from the board after 16 years in part because he believed that much had been accomplished during his tenure. He cited the creation of the Central Community Center, the renovation of Meadows Pool and the completion of the Veterans Memorial Bandshell and the associated Annex as projects he's particularly proud of.
"I'm very happy with all we've done," he said Thursday. "The CCC has become a focal point for that neighborhood, and I think veterans memorial is just wonderful now."
Eilering, president of Mount Prospect State Bank, has lived in the village for more than 40 years. He remains involved with a number of other community groups, including the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, and he said it's possible he will try to return to the park board in the near future.
"I've left that open," he said. "It could be that in two years I'll realize how much I miss it, and run again. In the meantime, I'll definitely continue to be active in the community."
The change in personnel on the park board doesn't worry Kuhs, the district's new executive director.
"It means I'll have to make sure to spend time with them, get to know them," he said. "But that's what I've been doing so far, anyway."
Kuhs, who previously was the executive director of the Wood Dale Park District, said he's spent his first few weeks on the job meeting with staff and familiarizing himself with the needs and priorities of the district.
"To an extent, suburban park districts share some of the same priorities," he said. "There are always differences between them, though. That's what I've been working on, and it's been great."
As for what specific projects might soon come up for discussion, Kuhs said it's hard to tell with three new board members about to take office.
Massie and Kurka could not be reached for comment. Starr said he'd rather "get a few board meetings under my belt" before talking about specific plans and projects.
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