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Board hears park concerns


Recreation Director lists suggestions, maintenance needs



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May 12, 2010 | 08:43 AM
Walworth — On Monday night, Big Foot Recreation Department Director Chuck Thiesenhusen questioned whether the Village Board was dedicated to its parks and made suggestions on how they could improve them.

"I feel, at times, the leadership in Walworth views the parks as a burden instead of an asset," Thiesenhusen said.

Last month, board members raised concerns that maintenance demands on the parks were being made by Big Foot sports teams and other area youth teams. They questioned whether these groups were asking for too much from the village.

These comments prompted board members to question whether these groups, including the Recreation Department, should be more involved with the park's planning process.

After Monday night's meeting, Watters said it is still important for the village to bring all the "key users" together for better park planning.

"We need a little better agreement, planning and coordination with key users," Watters said. "That's a challenge the village needs to lead."

Thiesenhusen also provided the board with a list of suggestions on how to improve its parks, which included better maintenance, a larger budget, improved communication and more regular park meetings.

After the meeting, Village President Todd Watters said Thiesenhusen had some valuable suggestions. He said the board is already addressing some of the suggestions.

However, Watters disagreed with Thiesenhusen on one of his points.

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"I don't believe we view (the parks) as a burden," Watters said. "We are very proud of the parks we have."

Watters said the village has a track record of adding park space during the past 10 years.

Other park issues

Thiesenhusen also provided the board with a list of maintenance issues with the village parks, which included exposed screw and nail heads and jagged and loose boards on bleachers in Toynton Park.

Watters said he believes the parks are well-maintained and when issues arise the village should be able to respond to them.

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"We try to maintain it at a certain standard," Watters said. "These aren't intended to be specimen gardens, they are intended for use."

During the meeting, Public Works Director Tim Boss also brought additional park maintenance concerns to the board.

The roof on the shelter in Toynton Park needs to be replaced and Boss has received several bids for a new roof.

However, the village didn't budget for a new roof and is looking for ways to fund it.

Boss also said several light bulbs are out in Devil's Lane Park, which because of the height of the lights, requires an outside contractor to install.

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Watters and Thiesenhusen agree that communication needs to be improved with the village and park users.

Recently, the Big Foot Ball and Glove organization scheduled several tournaments during days the village had the parks reserved.

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