Timothy Wessel: 2021 candidate for Lisle Park District board
X candidates for four seats
Occupation: Financial Analyst at CVS Health
Civic involvement: This is my first time running for an election.
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A: I wanted to run for the Lisle Park Board because my family and I are big users and believers in the Parks and their services. My wife and I have a four year old son that loves going to the parks. I wanted to make sure the Parks continue to be well funded and maintained for everyone to use and enjoy. I feel that parks are a very important part of what brings a community together and attracts new people to the Village. Because of the recent pandemic, parks are even more important than ever to our personal health as well.
Q: Did your park district continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: I feel that the Park District did about as well as it could have done given the circumstances. The staff was able to develop outdoor programs that made use of the wide open spaces at our parks. They were also able to keep the golf course functioning at a high level, which allowed a record number of people to use it.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: Places like the Fitness Center will have to continue to have a focus on cleanliness and hygiene even after the State fully reopens. Any indoor programing will have to be monitored for size and everyone will need to be reminded to stay home if they are not feeling well.
Q: How has the pandemic affected the park district's offerings and use of facilities. Are there other ways the park board can fulfill the mission of a park district during these times?
A: The pandemic has definitely impacted what the park district can offer. Indoor classes and the fitness center were closed for an extended period of time. Wheatstack has been closed since the spring. In response, the park board can continue to push the use of our outdoor parks and all the activities that can be done outdoors. They can also look into new ways to bring people outside; like an upcoming kayak launch.
Q: How has the pandemic affected the park district's revenue? How has that been addressed on the expense side?
A: The pandemic did impact the district's revenue. A large portion of the district's revenue comes from program fees, and most programs were canceled or cut back due to the pandemic. The district was able to make some tough decisions, including cutting back on staff and closing the golf course restaurant, to bring expenses in line with the reduced revenue.