Adam Augustine: Candidate profile
Name: Adam Augustine
Office sought: Bartlett Park District Commissioner
Family: Married with two children
Occupation: Director of Communications, Big Ten Conference
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Previous elected offices held: None
What are the most important issues facing your park district and how do you intend to address them?
At its best, a park district can unite a community in ways that few other organizations can. However, it can only do so when the programming is relevant and accessible to everyone in the community. I am running to be a voice on the park district board that emphasizes matching the programs offered to the needs of the community and doing so in a way that is both affordable and fits within the busy schedules of working families like my own.
If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board?
When my wife, two young children and I moved to Bartlett about five years ago, we didn't know anyone and were hours away from our nearest family members. For us, park district programming was what first made us feel like we were a part of the community, whether it was swimming lessons, soccer, preschool or the fitness center. With more than 15 years of experience in collegiate and youth athletics administration and a bachelor's degree in political science, I am a first-time candidate who will use my experience and education to ensure that everyone in the community has access to the same types of programs that have meant so much to my family.
Which programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
Since Villa Olivia was acquired by the Bartlett Park District in 2010, its operation has been a consistent drag on the district's budget. In the six most recent years for which annual financial reports are available, Villa Olivia's expenditures have outpaced revenue by a total of more than $2 million. In 2015, the Bartlett Park District published a comprehensive plan for the future of the district. Not surprisingly, much attention was paid to Villa Olivia, including a section based on Bartlett Park District staff input that focused on the struggles and challenges presented by the facility. Many ideas were suggested in the document, including upgrades to the golf course or expansion of the winter offerings. Villa Olivia gives the Bartlett Park District a unique collection of facilities in terms of golf, skiing and banquet space, but it is imperative that the district find ways to improve and better promote the facility in order to make it a more viable part of the district.
Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.
The 2015 comprehensive plan identified a number of areas throughout the Bartlett Park District that are underserved by parks of all sizes, including mini, neighborhood and community parks. Areas without access to mini and neighborhood parks in particular would be my highest priority for future acquisitions as my goal would be for every family in the district to have access to a public open space within walking distance of their home.
Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them?
The Bartlett Park District commissioned a survey of the community in 2014 which revealed a few unmet needs within the district. Youth athletics form a very important core of the district's activities and the survey identified a need for increased space for fast-growing sports such as lacrosse, soccer and volleyball. Increased practice and competition space for these sports could be made available by changing the priorities of how existing park district facilities are allocated to different programs and any new expenses incurred could be covered by reallocating existing budgeted funds or offset by increased program revenue. The same survey identified more ambitious projects worthy of consideration as well, such as expansion of health club facilities or the addition of an indoor ice rink. As with any capital investment, careful evaluation would be required to ensure that any such expansion would be undertaken with great fiscal responsibility.