Steve Alesch: Candidate profile
Name: Steve Alesch
City: Warrenville, IL
Office sought: Warrenville Park District Board Commissioner
Family: Father of two grown children, grandfather of two
Occupation: Retired software engineer (36 years)
Education: Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Computer Science
Civic involvement: Volunteer, Warrenville Friends of the 4th, Volunteer, Friends of the Great Western Trails, Former Organizer, Move to Amend
Previous elected offices held: Warrenville Park District Board Commissioner, 8 years
Incumbent? Yes, I am running for my 3rd term.
If yes, when were you first elected? 2011
What are the most important issues facing your park district and how do you intend to address them?
It's about community! I originally decided to run for public office because I wanted to contribute something positive to my community. I feel as strongly committed to that vision as I was eight years ago. While our park district is small, it is vitally important to our quality of life. One of the most important issues facing our park district is insufficient open space. I will continue to protect the quality of our parks as they currently exist, while making thoughtful, sustainable, well timed and sensibly financed improvements to facilities and programming. I will also continue to bring an independent voice to the board.
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 a two-term commissioner I have provided direction and leadership in improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of the Warrenville Park District. As a result of my suggestion, a Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) audit of our park district was held, which identified several areas for improvement, such as replacing windows and LED lighting for our Recreation Center parking lot. The parking lot lighting replacement program is a multi-phase project spread over several years. If re-elected, I will remain vigilant in working with the board to provide direction to the Executive Director to implement additional energy efficiency improvements because it saves taxpayers dollars and creates a healthier planet for our children.
Which programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
The program brochure could be maximized fiscally if we were to work together with our city and other local government entities. We are a small park district and are very focused on fiscal responsibility. There are a number of sports and exercise programs available to children and adults at the Warrenville Park District and we are always looking for new programming ideas from residents. In my two terms as commissioner, programs are being utilized and have reasonable fees. I understand that our park district residents would like for us to continue expanding our services and park facilities.
Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.
Our park district has a relatively low amount of open space per capita. As commissioner I have strongly advocated for affordable opportunities to acquire more open space. While our park district is surrounded by open spaces with some of the area's most beautiful forest preserves, having open spaces within our district, especially within walking distance of residents' homes, is important to both the quality of life for our community as well as our district's fiscal health. When the City of Warrenville proposed its most recent Tax Increment Financing (TIF) redevelopment project, I was the only park commissioner who voted against the TIF. I voted no because the proposal did not provide any usable open space, which is a main priority to our residents and our park district. I look forward to our park district partnering with our city and forest preserve to expand our open space, and continuing to manage our park district in a fiscally sound, practical way that will improve the quality of life for our community.
Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them?
I support developing a frisbee golf course and expanding nature trails. I am also a strong advocate of building a signature park that would not only be popular among Warrenville residents, but also draw residents from throughout the metropolitan area. One idea I have suggested is an English Garden, which could be rented out periodically for wedding ceremonies, and would bring revenue to our park district and our local economy. Once again, as we consider these initiatives we must always assess the impact to our taxpayers.