Nathan Wilson: 2021 candidate for Naperville Park District board
Nathan Wilson is one of eight candidates running for four seats on the Naperville Park District board in the April 6, 2021, election.
Age: Not given
Occupation: Senior software engineer at Virtu Financial
Civic involvement: Open source software contributor; volunteer coach.
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 am running for Naperville Park District Board Commissioner for the first time in order to help keep the park district fiscally responsible, the parks safe, and decision making transparent. The financial issues are particularly interesting to me as I have a background in finance and work on financial software professionally. I would like to be an advocate for the taxpayers' desires and ensure that our money is spent wisely while offering high quality programming and services. Moreover, there are current nonrevenue producing entities, such as the River Walk Cafe, which I think can be promoted and utilized for more gatherings and/or businesses in order to try to boost profits in a very nice facility.
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: As always, people can strive do a better job, but the park district was able to offer golf when first possible last spring, which was in high demand. The park district also offered other outdoor activities such as baseball/softball and soccer as well as some virtual classes for the fall and winter as things moved inside such as yoga and Zumba. So, I think the park district did a good job in being able to adjust while still offering programs to the constituents and we can look at what sort of demand there will be for those virtual classes in the future.
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: The safeguards that I would put in place to address future health crisis would be to emphasize hand washing and trying not to cough on each other. It may sound like I'm saying that in jest, but having commuted by train and/or bus to and from the city of Chicago I'm fully aware of the lack of cleanliness leading to a higher probability of getting sick.
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 park district was able to offer some virtual classes as well as continue to play outdoor sports and some indoor classes and activities where possible. So, while some offerings changed due to state restrictions, the park district was able to adjust to those restrictions and offer programs as soon as possible. Going forward, the park district could see what sort of demand there is for additional virtual offerings.
Q: How has the pandemic affected the park district's revenue? How has that been addressed on the expense side?
A: The park district holds a relatively large reserve (25%) and is able to keep the average property tax flat for this year while having a Moody's Aaa bond rating. So, the park district was able to pivot pretty efficiently while offering quality classes and access to the parks. That being said, we can always look to save the taxpayers money where possible.