Barbara Thornbury: Candidate profile
Name: Barbara Thornbury
Office sought: Warrenville Park District Commissioner
Family: Husband Brad (30 years), 1 daughter (and son-in-law), 2 sons, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 rat
Occupation: Co-owner with husband of a small resort in northern Wisconsin, Braune's Cabins
Education: BS in Biochemistry from Purdue University 1988
Civic involvement: Warrenville Triangle Task Force (1992 -- 1994? not sure of these dates), Warrenville Women's Connection 1991 -- 1999, Girl Scout Leader 1998 -- 2004, Girls Softball Assistant Coach 2000 -- 2004, International Lions Club Member 2009 -- Present, Friends of Warrenville Parks 2015 -- Present
Previous elected offices held: Warrenville Park District Commissioner since 1999 (2 year absence when I took a break)
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
Facebook: Barbara L Thornbury (Rhodes)
What are the most important issues facing your park district and how do you intend to address them?
The most important issue facing the Warrenville Park District never changes: how do we provide the best facilities, programs, staff, and amenities, for an affordable price, while maintaining a budget that runs with positive fund balances. When economic times are difficult and tax payers personal budgets become tight, having open green space where families can go to enjoy recreational activities is critical. Parks and playgrounds provide a means of physical exercise, but also social and emotional interaction, so they remain one of the most important aspects of a healthy community. Unfortunately, being land-locked in Warrenville places a higher importance on the open spaces that we currently have.
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. 1. Expansion of the Park District into its current form. I worked with the other Board members years ago to secure TIF funding for the development of the Rec Center. 2. Raised $138,000 to develop a playground at Bower Elementary School for those with physical challenges that prevented them from access to the other playgrounds. 3. Encouraged staff to take over the annual Summer Daze Festival and grow it into the great success it has become.
Which programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
Some of our programs for seniors and children do not pay for themselves. I continually encourage staff to fund these as I believe the overall health of our community is better if we provide for all citizens, not just those with higher economic means. This is not to imply that we are running negative fund balances. Overall, our fund balances are positive and healthy.
Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.
I would love to see an additional park be added where we bring musicians, artists, architects and staff together to create an integrated interactive open space where citizens are encouraged to explore the arts while spending time outside. We have really out grown our Rec Center too, but do not possess the funds to acquire a second building at this time.
Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them?
There will always be unmet recreational needs as we cannot possibly have everything. A community pool constantly comes up. Unfortunately, due to insurance and weather issues, pools tend, on average to lose money each season. As I tend to be fiscally conservative, I have not felt compelled to raise anyone's taxes to provide for this amenity. An ice skating rink has also been discussed, but is also impacted by insurance and weather issues.