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Village trustees split over proposed parks master plan

VILLA PARK – Developing a master plan would allow the Parks & Recreation Department in Villa Park to prioritize future programming and park improvement projects and would increase the likelihood of attaining grant funding, according to village staff and proponents of the resolution.

The Villa Park Village Board during its committee-of-the-whole meeting Monday night voted 4 to 3 to approve the resolution to hire 3D Design Services to complete the Parks & Recreation Master Plan for a fee not to exceed $29,710. The proposed resolution will appear on the formal agenda for a formal vote at the village's May 12 regular board meeting.

Village President Deborah Bullwinkel, and trustees John Davis, Robert Wagner and Robert Taglia voted to approve the resolution, while trustees Chris Aiello, Albert Bulthius and Donald Kase voted against.

During about 45 minutes of discussion, trustees debated the relevance of funding a study and the importance of addressing park issues at a time when the village is struggling to find funding for road and stormwater management projects.

"We have a lot of plans, but there's not a lot getting done," Bulthius said. "You can put this plan together, but by the time we get to it, we're not going to have any money and it's going to be outdated."

The village board should be focused on addressing the various road projects that need to be completed first, Kase said.

"If we can't get on the streets, then we won't be able to get to our parks," he said.

Aiello questioned the need to complete the study through a contractor, adding that the one goal for Parks & Recreation should be the village's pools.

"I don't think this plan strikes me as necessary," Aiello said. "We're already far behind on the things we need to spend money on."

Trustees in favor of the study said having a plan in place is paramount to getting future projects off the ground and establishing potential funding.

"If it helps Parks & Rec. allocate their resources better and helps us get one grant, I think it's money well spent," Wagner said. "A well-developed plan will help us make smart decisions."

The department facilities are an important part of the community – just like the roads, Taglia said.

"We have to keep a broader spectrum about these things," he said.

Trustee Davis agreed.

"You can't let one [problem] go just to take care of another one," he said.

If approved, $20,000 of the contract would come from the Parks & Rec. account reserved for special recreation, and $9,710 would come from the village.

Greg Gola, director of Parks & Recreation, said a master plan has never been completed and would allow the department to plan for the future.

"It would be our tool and guideline to use for the next 10 to 20 years," Gola said.

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How the voted

The Committee-of-the-Whole voted in favor of a Parks & Recreation master plan resolution:

Ayes: Deborah Bullwinkel, John Davis, Robert Wagner, Robert Taglia

Nayes: Chris Aiello, Albert Bulthius, Donald Kase

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Next meeting

The proposed resolution will be up for a formal vote at the village's May 12 regular board meeting.

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