Anna Nelson: Candidate Profile
Wildwood Park Board
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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.
Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Facebook: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Husband and two daughters
Occupation: Paraprofessional and substitute teacher
Education: Bachelor's Degree of Arts Communication
Civic involvement: Girl Scouts Twelve years
Warren Band Boosters six years
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
As a 25 year resident of Wildwood, the Wildwood Park District has been an integral part of my life, my husband's life, and the life of my two daughters. We have spent summers swimming in Gages and Valley Lakes and taking advantage of all the park district offers from swim programs to Apple Fest. For the past three years, I have attended park district board meetings and was appalled at the major misspending of tax payer dollars. Thousands of dollars were overspent on meals, gift cards, and personal purchases while the parks and lakes I love went into disrepair. I was a part of the public scrutiny that along with the election of a new board member stopped this frivolous spending and I want to make sure it is stopped for good. Our tax dollars need to be spent improving our community! There is a lot to be done and I am aware of the challenges the park district has to face in the coming years. I am ready to make the right fiscal decisions that will fund the scheduled maintenance of our eleven parks and two lakes.
How do you assess the state of the district's finances? What, if any, changes do you propose to alter the district's financial picture, whether through cost reduction or revenue increases? Please be as specific as possible on where you would propose cutting or how you would propose increasing revenue.
The state of the park district's finances in past years has been alarming. The Board failed to properly monitor Park district staff spending. Thousands of dollars of tax payer funds were spent on gift cards, meals, and personal purchases for park district staff. Much of this excessive credit card spending was done with no receipts for purchases. After public scrutiny and the election of a new board member in the last cycle, responsible spending and accounting has been restored to the park district. I was a part of that public scrutiny and if elected to the board, I will make sure responsible use and oversight of tax payer dollars continues. While the misspending of our precious tax dollars was going on, the parks and lakes were allowed to fall into disrepair. We need to develop both a short term and long term improvement plan for restoring our parks and lakes. They are essential to our community and need the attention of maintenance, upgrades, and our finances.
What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
At this point we have lost the pulse of our community and what programs we need to offer. We have lost many programs because of low or no enrollment. My challenge is to look for more activities focused on community involvement. Apple Fest was a thank you to the community for purchasing Rule park through a referendum. When it was stopped, the community was not considered in that decision. Apple Fest was a coming together of community and merchants. Its "profit" was in building strong relations within the community. It provided volunteer opportunities, skill development for our youth, and was an enjoyable event for all community residents and guests. I would like to look for more community activities to add to our calendar.
Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them?
Recreationally we are lacking programs for our seniors. I would love to provide them an area and time they can meet to come up with activities or programs that would interest them. That way we are providing what we know the community wants as to what we suspect they might be interested in. The funding of each of these programs should be self-funded. The other area I see as lacking, are activities that the community can participate in. Our parks are a great place for events that support the community. The Easter Egg Hunt, Carp Fishing Derby, National Night Out, and Snow Building Contests are great fun for the community and have minimal cost impacts on the park district budget.
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 running for the board because I am unhappy that previous boards did not keep a close enough eye on the finances, let tax dollars be misspent, and let our parks and lakes fall into disrepair. I first became aware of this three years ago, when I was frustrated that Valley Lake had swimmer's itch and got involved. The park district board members refused to discuss a resolution to fix the problem. I became a member of the Wildwood Park District Valley Lake committee to help find a solution. We defined the needs required to restore Valley Lake for safe enjoyment, reviewed contracts, and brought a proposal to the Park District board. Valley Lake after 1 year of new lake management is thriving and enjoyed by residents once again. I want to help rebuild other parts of the Wildwood Park District. I was a community volunteer with the Girl Scouts and Band Boosters, I have community service experience and feel called to serve my community at this time as a member of the Wildwood Park District board. I am a paraprofessional and substitute teacher at SEDOL and I know how to work on a team to achieve the best for people I serve and I want to do that for the community of Wildwood.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Recreationally, Gages Lake and Valley Lakes are our gems. Swimming, boating, and fishing are our community's livelihood and the source of our residents' enjoyment. We need to ensure they remain safe and available for swimming and recreation as each lake has its own special features. There are many water sport and fishing activities on Gages Lake, while Valley Lake promotes swimming and fishing, and is an excellent place to use canoes and kayaks without worrying about motorized boats. By bringing back fiscal responsibility and accountability we can make sure these gems and our eleven parks are kept up for future generations. We have started in the right direction and I want to see it through. I know Wildwood. I love Wildwood and I want to help rebuild the Wildwood Park District!
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Candidate did not respond.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Hard work pays off
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Candidate did not respond.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Candidate did not respond.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Live life to the fullest potential.