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To raise revenues, village looks at advertising

October 06, 2010 | 08:43 AM
Walworth — The cash-strapped village is searching for alternative ways to fund, for which the board has been criticized.

During the September meeting, the Village Board discussed having advertisements in the outfields of Toynton and Devil's Lane Park.

"We are trying to raise funds for the parks because our budget is constantly being cut," Park Committee Chairwoman Madeline Zindrick said.

In the past year, the Village Board has been criticized for not maintaining its parks. The advertising could serve as an alternative funding mechanism for maintenance.

The Park Commission has suggested placing either banners or wooded signs along the outfield walls of the baseball diamonds located at Toynton and Devil's Lane Park.

Trustee Ed Snyder said he thinks this could benefit the village and youth sports programs. He also hopes to have it implemented for the 2011 seasons.

"Advertising would raise the funds that various programs are looking for to make improvements to the baseball/softball fields," Snyder said. "Advertising could also help local businesses generate more business with increased exposure in an area that has never been tapped before."

Snyder also believes there is a market for advertising in the village-owned parks.

"As the harbor master at the Abbey Marina, I can say that we would definitely do a section," Snyder said.

Trustee Dennis Vanderbloemen agreed this could bring more funding to the parks.

"Other municipalities around the area have done this," Vanderbloemen said. "It is a viable way to get extra cash into the park system."

However, Vanderbloemen is concerned homeowners who reside adjacent to the parks may object to seeing advertisements every time they look out their windows.

"I'm not sure that if I lived there I would want to see the signs out my front windows," Vanderbloemen said.

On Monday during a telephone interview, Vanderbloemen also raised concerns that placing the advertisements in the ballfield may conflict with the village's sign ordinance.

So far, Vanderbloemen said he hasn't made a decision on whether he would support advertisements in the park.

Trustee Patrick Hubertz steered away from the word "advertising." Instead said he would be open to having businesses sponsor the parks.

"I'm all in favor of sponsors being recognized," he said. "That money should be allocated to the parks. It is a way to address the recent concerns on maintenance."

Zindrick said the parks are relying on people from outside the community to donate time and money for park maintenance.

The Big Foot Ball and Glove Program has recruited volunteers to do maintenance work in the village's parks.

During the September Village Board meeting, Big Foot Ball and Glove Commissioner Tony Greco asked the board if it could commit more money to its parks this year. He also told the board that the Ball and Glove Program has invested into the fields.

"In the last three years, we, as an organization, besides the village mowing the fields, have put a lot of time, money into basically beautifying the fields," Greco said in September.

In the past, friends of Greco have worked on the fields so they were ready for the youth sports season.

A Chicago-based company "rolled" the fields, which basically means they flatten the grounds.

Zindrick said repairs are needed beyond what Greco has put into the parks.

"The shelter at Devil's Lane needs to be upgraded or rebuilt," Zindrick said.

Zindrick said baseball and softball tournaments have been relocated because of the park conditions, which she said affects local businesses.

"We are losing business because they are playing games somewhere else," she said.

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