“Centennial Pool Night” At The Park District


We’ll make this as simple and straightforward as possible:

The Park Ridge Recreation and Park District’s plan to commit almost all of its non-referendum bonding authority to a new $7.1 million outdoor pool complex at Centennial Park that can be used only 3 months of the year is fiscally irresponsible without first asking the taxpayers/voters through an advisory referendum.  

Entiendes?  Verstehst du?  Ne comprenez-vous?  Czy rozumiesz?  ?? ?????????? Capito?  Got that?

That’s why we hope a lot of residents turn up at TONIGHT’s Park Board meeting, where this project is arguably the main event on the agenda.  Kick off is at 7:30 at the Maine Leisure Center, 2701 Sibley.

Our branding of this project as “fiscally irresponsible,” however, should not be taken as our saying that the current Centennial Pools aren’t finally at the end of their useful lives, 20 years after having been prematurely pronounced dead the last time the Park District wanted to use millions of dollars of its non-referendum bonding power to build a new aquatic facility at Centennial.  And we’re not suggesting that a pool complex different from the two main pools now on that site wouldn’t be a suitable replacement – although we do think the proposed design leaves a lot to be desired. 

But what kind of stewards of the public purse would exhaust all of the District’s non-referendum bonded debt, and another $800,000 of “earmarked” funds, for a facility that will be operated no more than 90 days each year, weather permitting – especially without having a detailed business plan locked and loaded that demonstrates how the operations costs of that new facility, along with the debt service, will be covered? 

Frankly, bad ones. 

Because this kind of “investment” and this kind of debt are – to quote Vice President Joe Biden, albeit in a very different context – “a big f-ing deal.”  And both its short and long-term effects on the Park District and its taxpayers will be so significant and substantial that an advisory referendum should be automatic for any Park District official who actually gives a rat’s derriere about what The People think. 

Not surprisingly, the District has already produced a nifty marketing handout, and it has begun the “fun with numbers” exercise to support its claim that this project – requiring $6.3 million of bonded debt at an assumed 2.93% interest rate for a 15-year term that will end up costing taxpayers approximately $8.2 million when the debt service/interest costs are figured in – “won’t raise taxes.”  To this latter point, the District has put out a kind of spread sheet filled with a bunch of numbers in columns under headings that don’t mean jack to most taxpayers.  

As best as we can tell from that jumble, the main economic theory behind the “no new taxes” claim is that, because there already are existing bonds that will be retired by 2017, the cost to the taxpayers of servicing the debt on those existing bonds (for which the taxpayers already are being taxed) will simply be extended for the last 11 years of the new bonds’ term.  In the bizarre world of government economics, that means no tax “INCREASE.”

In the real world, it means the taxpayers won’t be getting the tax DECREASE to which they should be entitled when the current bonds are retired – or at least some better maintenance and additional amenities from the the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that is currently being paid on those existing bonds.

Noted philosopher George Santayana is known for his quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  And this latest Centennial Pool project takes us back to 1994, when the District last intended to use its non-referendum bonding power to build a “water park” to replace the “failing” Centennial Pools. 

Sound familiar?

Back then, the Park District executive director and the Park Board members – along with a number of resident aquatics advocates – insisted that “most people” wanted the water park.  But a group of NIMBYs and some community activists from other parts of town strenuously objected, blowing holes in the District’s “facts” and arguments, and demanding an advisory referendum. 

They got one, and the project was resoundingly defeated.

That little bit of history alone should be enough to wake up the current Board and Staff to the woeful wrongheadedness of exhausting the District’s non-referendum debt for this project without the legitimacy that a successful advisory referendum this April would provide.  And if the referendum should be unsuccessful but the Park Board members still believe the project is the right thing to do, they can display their individual profiles in courage by ignoring those referendum results and doing the project anyway.

One more blast-from-the-past is instructive.

In 1990 the Park District rushed to judgment on a plan to build the Community Center to replace the YMCA that was closing on that site.  The Park Board didn’t want to go to referendum on that project because, although it claimed it knew what “the people” wanted, it didn’t want to run the risk of being told “no” in the definitive manner elections tend to provide.  So it used up most of its non-referendum bonding power to do the project without a referendum, slapping together a variety of features, camel-like, to make sure it came in under the non-referendum debt ceiling. 

And what we got is the current structure: undersized from the moment it opened, with an indoor pool too short and too narrow to hold even kids’ swim meets, with a grossly insufficient work out area, and with such a dysfunctional design (e.g., the only way into the swimming area is by walking, literally, through the locker room showers) that a Bally’s manager who inspected the facility in 2004 stated that Bally’s wouldn’t agree to manage that facility even if it were given it for free.

But heedless of this history, the Park District wants to push this project through, hamstringing its finances for the next 15 years, without a referendum.  That’s wrong on basically every level. 

And tonight is an opportunity for the taxpayers of Park Ridge to let them know just how wrong, and how unacceptable, it is.

To read or post comments, click on title.

22 comments so far

The fact is that if this issue goes to referendum along with the country club area land, the public will give them an answer they do not want to hear………here it comes……..DON’T DO BOTH!!!!!!!!

We hear from all levels (local, state, federal and on this blog) how terrible the recession still is and how government bodies have so little money. We also hear from a large segment of the population how they do not want to pay any more taxes.

For PR to go forward with both these projects is flat out stupid. We talk about running government as we run our own home budgets. Would anyone enter into such debt for two large items such as this or would you pick one???

The reality is that people will decide to do what a poster in a previous thread so perfectly stated. Fix and update our existing facilities before going off to acquire more land. The vote will say yes to the pools and no the the land. It appears some folks just do not want to hear that.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The folks who want stuff – be they swimmers, skaters, seniors, etc. – never want to hear the word “no.” And the public officials who can use other people’s money to say “yes” and get pats on the head (or, in the Illinois tradition of corruption, financial remuneration) in return are happy to say “yes.” That’s the special interest “circle of life” that has left this state and most of its governmental subdivisions in the financial tank.

This is a very important decision. Hopefully the turn out will be enormous. Perhaps this meeting will spur other residents to run for the Park District Commissioner role that is coming next April 2013. Maybe even a certain blogger will decide to run again?!?

EDITOR’S NOTE: One blogger we know believes no public official deserves the honor and privilege of serving more than two terms in any one office. But you may want to pose that question on Ken Butterly’s “Senior Issues” blog:

Thanks, Triz. I don’t know what you are trying to do but fomenting dismay and uproar over a pool replacement and upgrade even you have acknowledged is needed, and encouraging folks at the one-issue Senior Center to run for office and kill such initiatives outright, along with anything else outside “restore control to SSI,” seems a bit counterproductive to your overall goals of good government. Or is it just that you don’t think the board and staff have enough calumny and craziness, never mind actual responsibilities that take actual time, and need you to drum up more?Why not harass the township staff and board for awhile? You’ve already explained how you think the school boards and staff, City Council and staff, and Park Board and staff are all blithering idiots at best and thieving fiends at worst; you’ve even ranged afield to take on Mon-Sewer Madigan at the state level. How about taking on the Township for a change? You are piddling up a rope to think that the Park District is going to make the populace cram into Hinkley or schlep their wallets out of town because of you and the NIMBYs who don’t think “outdoor pool” and “summer in Chicagoland” go together. Ain’t happenin’ my friend.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is what it is.

If “fomenting dismay and uproar” over this or any other major expenditure of the taxpayers’ money results in greater interest and participation in local government here in Park Ridge, we’ll gladly plead guilty as charged. But if greater taxpayer participation is too challenging or annoying for any Board or Staff members, there’s always barber college.

If other candidates for the Park Board can’t beat “one-issue Senior Center” candidates, they shouldn’t even bother to run. As for “taking on the Township,” we’ll let Laura Murphy and Rosie Mulligan arm-wrestle for the steering wheel of that clown car and hope that the State legislature at some point abolishes township government altogether.

Had the Park Board not been AWOL while Oakton Pool deficits pulled $80K a year out of the taxpayers’ wallets so that a couple dozen lap swimmers and another couple dozen NIMBYs could get a few more years of semi-private fun, the PRRPD could have planned a much better facility at Centennial, held its referendum and – assuming all the public support for such a facility really was there – had the new Centennial pool in the ground already. So don’t blame this blog for the Park Board’s mismanagement.

I should have added, “Capisce?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Je comprends.

I guess wanting “stuff” is OK if you voted for Mitt and have already gotten “stuff” aplenty from the far less lucky denizens who share your flag if not your (joke of a) tax bracket.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, good: class warfare in an upper-middle class community.

We can’t wait to see how that plays out when the wealthy, the very rich, the rich, and the merely well off are pitted against each other for scarce amenities like water parks and Senior Centers.

PWD I do not always agree with you but on this issue you are right on target. The PRPD board’s plan for the shoehorning a large aquatic playground on a piece of land too small to accomodate it in a neighborhood with insufficient parking (BTW D64 parking lots should not be the PRPD’s solution to the parking issue) goes beyond mismanagement. The PRPD board has been told three times in the not too distant past that the taxpaying voting citizens of Park Ridge do not want a water park at the Centennial location. What don’t they understand? And just because Oakton Pool is now no longer around does not change this fact.

It is hard to imagine that the PRPD board put the information out on this new outdoor pool complex on November 8 and was originally going to approve going forward with the plan at tonight’s meeting-only one week later. The information about the particulars of the new pool area was purposely withheld to the last minute so the taxpaying voting residents of Park Ridge would not have time to review and give the board feedback. Shameful.

We will take the PRPD’s word that the Centennial pools need some major work. Do that work. Make the pool with the diving boards a zero depth entry pool. Rebuild the lap pool if that is required. But do not spend over $8 million dollars for something used at most 90 days per year. The PRPD recently spent over $1 million dollars for the new kiddie pool. Why are they investing nearly $10 million dollars on an outdoor pool?

The Youth Campus acquisition is a separate issue but also a bad idea. The PRPD is trying to tell us that outside of the cost of the $13 million debt both the Youth Campus and the $7.1 million for phases 1 and 2 of the water park will be budget neutral. Where is the support for this statement? Does the PRPD board even know how much it will cost to operate the new pool? To take care of the Youth Campus property? How much will pool passes go up?

This PRPD board has a lot of questions to answer before they go forward with either the water park or the Youth Campus acquisition. Stop taking out more debt to replace the debt that expires. Live within your means and ours. Take the funds freed up from debt repayment and put in a reserve so if and when major projects come up you have the reserves to pay for them.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Just because you claim to agree with us isn’t enough for us to let you get away with spouting half-truths and outright horse-hockey.

We don’t see anything in the “Centennial Pool Project Preliminary Plans” that constitutes “shoehorning”; and we don’t see what’s so wrong about the use of D-64 parking lots during summer months when they aren’t in great demand for school use. But the removal of Oakton Pool is most definitely a major factor that did not exist the last three times the voters told the PRRPD “no” on pools.

Centennial Pools definitely “need some major work.” But even 20 years ago, after literally months of debate and public hearings, it was agreed that doing what you propose to the current pools was pound-foolish without even being penny-wise. Just like the PRRPD was told years earlier that Oakton Pool would soon crater, the same situation now exists with Centennial Pools – except now there’s no Oakton Pool as a back-up.

But the taxpayers deserve to be asked whether the District should take on $6.3 million of debt for the next 15 years for a new Centennial aquatic facility – and to have that question answered in a referendum, not through a bunch of cockamamie surveys, questionnaires and anecdotes.

God you are so funny. You pick and choose to fit your needs and you portray PR as what every you want to fit your current argument.

You said following above…..”We can’t wait to see how that plays out when the wealthy, the very rich, the rich, and the merely well off are pitted against each other for scarce amenities like water parks and Senior Centers”. So now you describe PR this way!!!!

Yet when you want to hammer on labor agreements of spending you say things like the following……”such as that the City’s median household income being a shade over $88,000 (or not that much more than our back-of-the-envelope calculation for the median individual income for District 64 teachers); that the City’s unemployment rate increased from 7.0% in 2010 to 8.2% as of August 2011; and that residential property represents over 85% of the assessed valuation of all property located within the City limits”.

So tell me, are we poor or are we wealthy???

EDITOR’S NOTE: Compared to whom? We’re wealthy compared to Harvey (median household income $32,000) or even Des Plaines ($61,000), not so much when compared to Winnetka ($196,000) or Glenview (107,000).

But exactly how is the characterization of whether we are “wealthy” compared to other communities even relevant to what we pay our police, fire, teachers, etc.? The only relevance is intramural information: how do those employees’ wages compare to other Park Ridge metrics.

PWD-yes it is shoehorning. The area they want to cram the facility into around the community center is not adequate. Tearing down a perfectly good playground to make way for the pool is wasteful. The lazy river they propose to add in phase 3 for which the PRPD have no money now would essentially run right along the lobby windows of the cc with only the sidewalk being the only open area. And the houses on the west side of centennial park would only be about 60 feet from the pool area. This proposed outdoor pool complex is better suited to a much larger piece of land not located in the middel of a residential neighborhood.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s the kind of judgment call that people can differ on, which is why we think an advisory referendum – with a “campaign” during which these issues can be debated publicly – is the right thing to do.

But, frankly, we would like to see some exploration of connecting either the new lap pool or the zero-depth complex to the Community Center in such a way as to create an indoor/outdoor facility, thereby extending the pool year another 2-4 months or more. That might be too rich for the taxpayers’ blood, but we won’t know until somebody looks at it; and a 5-9 month facility seems a lot more valuable than a 3-month one.

I didn’t know anything about this meeting and just looked at their website and didn’t see it listed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike: When we looked for it on the PRRPD’s website, we had to go to the “Board” page, click on the “Meetings” point and then scroll down to the “November 15” meeting, click on that and look at the meeting agenda.

PRRPD management claims they did a great job getting the word out.

I got a Huge e-mail on it from the PRPD but it said “Don’t tell Mike!!!!”


Hello Robert!

I must say how pleased I was to see to see you at last nights’ Park Ridge Park District General Board Meeting. Together, with 25-30 directly-effected Park Ridge residents, we witnessed the Park Ridge Park Board in all its glory; publicly stating and restating their contention that their new and improved waterpark, was simply a more modern, expanded swimming pool system!


Unfortunately, I don’t think this Board is capable of self-control; and in the end, Park Ridge will soon find itself burdened: with another seven-million-dollars in long-term debt.

Robert; did we witness another example of “exemplary” leadership last night, or just seven men and women, unfit for Park District Commission duty, experiencing simultaneous delusions of aquatic grandeur.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hello, Kenneth!

I counted 40+ who stayed for the Centennial portion of the meeting.

“Unfit” is a term PublicWatchdog doesn’t throw around lightly. In fact, we don’t believe we ever have used that term to describe any public official; and we’re not going to start now, no matter how disappointing some of last night’s statements, responses, explanations and arguments from Park Board members and staff about the Centennial Pool project may have been.

It remains to be seen whether this Park Board can muster the courage and integrity needed to give the taxpayers a vote on this Centennial Pool project via an April referendum; or whether it will abuse its acknowledged power and dictate to those taxpayers a long-term facility and a long-term debt that the vast majority of taxpayers very well may not want, but which the District is attempting to validate through an expensive garbage in, garbage out “Community-wide Survey” devised in substantial part by Stantec Consulting, the same folks who…wait for it…are also being paid a boatload to DESIGN the new pool complex.

Can you say “conflict of interest”? How about “appearance of impropriety”? Or maybe “the fix is in”?

Interesting background on the community center. I have been trying to figure for the two years I’ve lived here why it’s so small and inefficiently designed. Knowing the reason gives me no sense of relief or closure. The pool, in particular, is a joke. Calling it a natatorium is like calling my living room a grand ballroom.

I do feel that we need upgraded aquatic facilities but it sounds like the existing plan is as ill-considered as the original community center plan. As another poster mentioned the short pool season should not be a factor. It is what it is and people deserve to make the of the balmy weather while they can. Not to mention if the sweltering weather patterns continue as they have the past couple years I could see the season easily starting sooner and ending later.

One thing that I wonder if anyone’s discussed: A newer pool complex would mean the PD would be able to charge a higher admittance fee, wouldn’t it? Also, what about charging higher admission fees for non-residents, as many pools do? Seems like we might be missing out on some potential revenue to help offset the costs of the project.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If some of the Park Board members and staff replace some of their arrogance with a little bit more integrity, we all could find out whether a majority of taxpayers casting a referendum vote this April agree that, when it comes to a $7.1 million “investment,” a 90-day outdoor pool season merely “is what it is.”

“Higher admission fees” always has been, and remains, a joke when you’re dealing with bureaucrats who consider simply breaking even worthy of a grand parade. And it appears we have at least a couple Board members who consider generating any kind of “surplus” (profit) an affront to humanity.


Maybe unfit is a strong word but I’m not just looking at last nights’ misadventure, but the sum of this Board’s activities over the last three years. The majority of this Board has been around that long.

What I got last night was the impression that the meeting was a pro forma and no matter the concerned citizen comments or discussion, no matter the economic reality, no matter the negative impact to the neighborhood, no matter, no matter, these guys on the Board are moving “full steam ahead” on by their own words, a less-than-fully-defined project totaling over 7 million bucks. That’s not chump change we’re talking about Bob – even if this were Wilmette.

The sentiment I heard last night was for a swap-out of Centennial Pool for another “pool”. Board members said the cost for a swap-out would be 2 million less. A pretty good savings for this community in my book!

Robert, maybe you came away with something different. But I don’t think you came away thinking their idea, as currently defined, a good one; and having discussed the meeting with a couple of other people who were there also last night, you’re not alone!

So, if not unfit, what word should I use then discussing Boards handling of this project to date: incompetent, inept, useless, incapable, inadequate, inexpert, hopeless, unwise, ill-advised, impudent, thoughtless, injudicious, irresponsible, heedless, stupid, foolish, inane, daft, dim or just silly?

Help me out here fellow blogger!


While Thursday night’s meeting did seem to be “pro forma” re the new Centennial Pool project, we’ll reserve judgment on the Board’s competence and integrity until it makes its final decision – holding out hope that it will make the correct decision to submit any multi-million dollar project to the taxpayers/voters via referendum in April.

The “dysfunctional” Community Center is one of the largest “surplus” generators in the Park District. In spite of the fact that it is unusable for competitive swimming, the pool is booked with lessons, exercise classes, and lap swim almost every open minute. The exercise classes are plentiful and appreciated, and the workout room is the preferred place to sweat for many. It isn’t grand, but it is revenue positive. Wouldn’t this blog be critical if an amenity was overbuilt as well?

It sounds to me like this blogger has his heart set on a very pricey indoor swim complex, and he knows the only way that can happen is with a referendum.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That the Community Center is “one of the largest ‘surplus’ generators in the Park District” is like being the tallest midget in the circus, what with the PRRPD’s general view of itself as a non-profit entity. That also doesn’t change the fact that the PRRPD paid for a second-rate facility in order to avoid asking the taxpayers for their support via a referendum back than, just like it seems to be repeating the same mistake this time around with the Centennial Pool project.

All this blog is looking for is the further empowerment of the taxpayers through an advisory referendum on such a major facility, a major expenditure, and a major debt. If it thinks its current plan is the best it can come up with, Let it put that plan to a vote.

“The “dysfunctional” Community Center is one of the largest “surplus” generators in the Park District. In spite of the fact that it is unusable for competitive swimming, the pool is booked with lessons, exercise classes, and lap swim almost every open minute.”

It is good to hear that the CC is generating decent revenue. But the pools seem to be overcrowded (let’s face it, when there are more than 8 or so people in the leisure pool it can seem cramped, which is crazy!) and often overbooked for lessons, noncompetitive swim team and other aquatic activities. A larger facility would have accommodated more people and therefore generated even more revenue.

It’s true that the CC is no-frills. We don’t need fancy. But inadequate seems a better descriptor, at least for the pool area, which is unfortunate. As PW has mentioned, too bad we can’t expand the indoor pool area towards Centennial’s pool area and somehow combine the two. That would be pretty grand.

I was one of the about 40 people at the PRPD board meeting-there to learn more about the proposed new water park that the PRPD chose to keep the details secret until right before they were to vote on spending $7.1 million dollars on 2 of 3 phases of a new pool. I have been to other board meetings over the 20 or so years our family has lived here and was once again disappointed in the officials who were elected or appointed to spend our tax dollars wisely.

It is disappointing to see a park board ready to approve spending this amount of money without going to referendum-even if it is nonbinding. Pres Biagi was very clear on this and stated there was no discussion by the board to ask the taxpayers of PR whether they wanted a water park for $7.1 million plus, replace the old pools for $4 million or so, or something different like an indoor/outdoor pool combo that would have more use. I believe someone else at the meeting called this an abuse of power.

I was disappointed that one of the commissioners actually compared spending $4-$5 million on replacing the existing pools which is $2 million cheaper than the water park they are proposing to going cheap on Christmas decorations on our own homes. This drew a gasp and a laugh from those in attendance. This flippant disregard for taxpayer money is insulting.

I was disappointed that the PRPD board really could care less about the impact of this project to the residence on Seminary and the streets just west of the park. Instead of looking at groves of trees and a nice usuable playground and green grass they will have a view of concrete and slides 52 weeks of the year. The commissioners tried to tell these concerned taxpaying residents that their property values would go up because of the water park and that they should be grateful the water park is being put in because now the PRPD is finally going to address flooding issues that have been present and apparenlty ignored for years. Why did it take the PRPD so long to address this issue?

I was disappointed that the PRPD would choose the spend this amount of money when only a small percentage of PR citizens use the pools in the summer. The PRPD stated that there is an average use of 43000 pool visits in PR over the last 3 summers. Assuming 90 days of use that equates to 477 visits per day not including the camps. So that is about 600 a day when you add the camps=this seems a reasonable estimate based on previous use of the camps. Many if not most of these 600 visits are likely repeat users. The PRPD stated the outdoor pools in PR have a capacity of 1347 so current utilization rates on average are way below capacity. Why spend so much for a water park. Do they really think usage of outdoor pools will skyrocket because of a waterpark? The PRPD stated pool passes will go up in price and the daily rate also is going up for adults to $8 per visit.

After attending the meeting it does seem like the PRPD board is rushing this through. Though they say property taxes will not go up to cover the debt on the water park, I find this hard to believe. At best the water park will break even. As I have put in a previous post, the PRPD provides great services but these are wants not needs. Is PR suffering over the state of the PRPD? Instead of rushing this through-they plan to approve the plan on Dec. 8-the PRPD should allow more time for input from the community.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is no – NO – excuse for the PRRPD not holding a referendum on the new Centennial Pool plan, other than the PRRPD Board and staff not wanting to give the taxpayers a meaningful say in the process.

Pool attendance is supposedly low. (Although you wouldn’t know it if you went to Hinkley or Centennial on a hot day, when it is crammed with bodies and empty chairs are nowhere to be found.) Yes, because people go to neighboring communities for the quality they’re not finding in PR. I think a water park will attract more residents. Isn’t that the point?

I have sympathy for the residents who don’t want more traffic and people and fewer trees in their “backyards.” But when people buy homes next to public property, they have to realize that its layout and makeup can evolve and change over time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Are you saying that “the point” is to ensure residents don’t go elsewhere for their recreation or entertainment? If so, please explain what’s wrong with that – especially if it saves Park Ridge taxpayers a ton of dough on facilities that barely operate at a break-even level.

Re: 7:19, Yes I thought the point was to keep residents using facilities here in town. When they leave to do their recreation in other communities, chances are they’re also shopping and/or dining there.

Not to mention that park resources are one factor people consider when moving to a new location. Call me crazy but it seems that caring about attracting new residents would be beneficial to the rest of us taxpayers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Maybe you’re just misinformed, or a victim of your own wishful thinking.

Nobody ever has empirically demonstrated a link between any Park District facility here in Park Ridge and higher property values OR higher retail sales. But if you really do believe there is such a link, then you should be supporting a much more elaborate, exciting and expensive facility than what’s being planned for Centennial. Heck, according the the PRRPD, that won’t even qualify to be called a “water park.”

This is just as ridiculous as the old saw, “We need more businesses in Park Ridge to take the property tax burden off the homeowners.” In that case, we would up building Uptown, which thanks tot he TIF agreement has siphoned off from the public fisc much more money than it’s brought in.

Many of us fear the same if the seemingly tone-deaf and profligate park district board gets its way with the pool and the youth campus. It’s certain we’ll pay more in taxes. It’s *not* so certain that property values will magically increase to historic levels just because we added park facilities.

Look, it’s clear that a community like Park Ridge needs to attract businesses and maintain decent public facilities. No one argues against that. The issue is that the city council, the school board and the park district follow the principle “spend money to make money” right out the window. We are unfortunately in a time when the economy is relatively weak, and that means local government will have to wait until things get better. These projects are foolish — and that’s not ideology, that’s just plain arithmetic.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And they don’t trust the taxpayers to give us a vote, even on a non-binding advisory referendum.

Nice try dog….you already convinced a previous park board to try such an approach, which was destined to fail from the very start. The current Park Board and Park District staff should be commended for coming up with such a cost effective solution. I encourage them to stay the course and not be distracted by the NIMBYs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The only things that are “destined to fail from the very start” tend to be the really bad ideas. Which is why the Park Board doesn’t want to put this new Centennial Pool project to an advisory referendum – it doesn’t the hard evidence thousands of counted votes – as opposed to 682 fuzzy survey results and a few more handfulls of anecdotes – provide.

9:02 am-what an uninformed and dangerous comment you make. Stay the course of a plan that is expensive and poorly thought out that will not increase property values but will increase our property taxes? There is really only one source of tax money in this town and that is the homeowners. There is not much retail to speak of so we are it. Therefore-we have to prioritize how our tax dollars are spent.

The PRPD is displaying the typical “I want it now” mentality of the spoiled and the entitled. The PRPD does not have the means to pay for the waterpark without taking out debt. So what-they will build it anyway. Who cares if property taxes go up. Who cares that that an outdoor waterpark can only be used at most 90 days of the year-let’s spend $7 million plus. Who cares that it is the wrong location for a water park. Who cares about the negative impact to the surrounding neighbors. Who cares that replacing the current pools would be $2million cheaper-its not our money. Who cares? The voting taxpaying residents of PR care. Show us some respect-put the waterpark plan to a referendum.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Park District doesn’t “respect” its taxpayers. In fact, if you get past the superficial arrogance, most Board members and Staff actually fear the taxpayers and what they will do if given the chance to vote on this half-baked but expensive Centennial Pool plan.

I don’t know who are the NIMBYs in this case. Would it be great for me, who lives at least a mile from either the Youth Campus or the Centennial Pool, to have more park district land and stuff? Absolutely. But I’m a NOMPT — not on my property taxes.

As for the NIMBYs, they are citizens of this town just like you and me, and they have a right to speak up and give their opinion. You can call it self-serving if you’d like, but to praise the park district board for not being distracted is the same thing as praising them for ignoring citizens’ wishes.

You “encourage them to stay on course”? Citizens set the course. Numbers this big should go to referendum.

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


(optional and not displayed)