I have enjoyed my eight years serving on the park board and I believe there have been many improvements and accomplishments during that time period.
When I was first elected, the park district was in bad financial condition and we concentrated on reducing the debt and fixing up the various facilities and parks. We resurfaced the entire bike path, added the 20th Street bike path extension, rebuilt the tennis courts, created the dog park, added a walking path in Memorial Park, built permanent bathrooms at Cooper Park and totally rebuilt Helms Field North, just to name some of the larger projects. All these were accomplished while reducing that debt over those years.
We severed our agreement with the Hickory Grove health club and pool operation, but then partnered with the city to preserve the many acres of green space that continues to offer golf. The park district also assists with a grant to the Flagg Township Museum.
The board also chose to replace the entire filter and pump system at Spring Lake Pool complex. It should last for many years and the complex will be developed for other water and recreation features.
We were very fortunate to hire Don Elliott for several years as park superintendent. With his experience, he streamlined the maintenance department and upgraded our equipment.
Maureen Stevens, our office manager, skillfully handles the day to day office work and the needs of the commissioners.
The board is now going in a different direction with the building a brand new recreation center, and while I certainly am in favor of the general project, I don’t believe that it should be accomplished solely on the back of the taxpayer. We already experience one of the highest property tax rates in the United States and I believe that if this project is truly financially sound, then there should be alternate sources of revenue found for constructing the building portion.
The people will decide in the future whether their membership is justified based on the amenities available and the cost to attend.
Thank you to everyone for their support and I wish the commissioners the best of luck with their future endeavors.
Marshall “Bud” Norcross