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updated: 4/9/2014 5:17 PM

Park dock to be named after late Geneva alderman

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  • Ralph Dantino

    Ralph Dantino


Ralph Dantino, the late Geneva alderman, was a big supporter of public parks.

He helped found the Geneva Park District Foundation in 1994 and served on its board until 2009.

The park district will honor his devotion by naming a new Peck Farm Park feature after him Saturday.

The Ralph Dantino Teaching Dock will be dedicated at 10:30 a.m. during the Earth Day celebration at the park, 4038 Kaneville Road.

The dock provides better access, including handicapped accessibility, to the edge of the water at a lake in the park.

"Not only was Ralph passionate about Geneva as a whole, but he was dedicated to preserving open space," said former park district director Stephen Persinger, who worked with Dantino on the foundation.

Ex-alderman Sam Hill was on the park board when the foundation was organized, and recalled how Dantino and the foundation helped the district obtain Peck Farm.

"When he saw that lake and saw that opportunity to provide residents (with the chance) to get closer and more involved in water activities down there, that (acquiring the farm) was one of his goals," Hill said.

Hill called Dantino "one of the good guys of Geneva." Dantino also served on the Geneva school board, and as president of the Tri-Cities Soccer Association.

"He was just always doing as much as he could" for the town, Hill said.

That included fulfilling a commitment to performing in the "Dancing With the Geneva Stars" fundraiser for the city's Cultural Arts Commission just hours after being released from a hospital when he was undergoing chemotherapy for the cancer that eventually took his life. Dantino died, at age 56, in 2013.

The dock will enable the district to better teach people, especially children, about nature and the way people's lifestyles affect the environment, according to Trish Burns, manager of Peck Farm Park.

Following the ceremony, Earth Day will be celebrated from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Highlights include free bicycle tuneups, food from local vendors, rain barrels and compost bins for sale, information from vendors supplying environment-friendly products, free chair massages and health scans, chalk art, and children's entertainment.

The Hawks Hollow Nature Playground will also be reopened for the season with a "Grand Hatching Event." Its eight hands-on learning stations feature native-bird species and natural elements. For more information, call (630) 232-4542 or visit

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