LA GRANGE – Attorney and long-time resident Dan Collins has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the La Grange Park Board.
The board unanimously approved the appointment of Collins, who will serve the remainder of a term left vacant since Dec. 31.
Collins has lived in La Grange since 2010. He and his wife have four children.
“From the moment that we got here, we had said we wanted to get acclimated,” Collins said. “I know I got involved with Little League back in 2011. I’ve been really active since then. With this opportunity, I saw a chance to get beyond the boys and girls of Little League and take on a bigger role across the whole village.”
The board’s decision comes ahead of the April 2 election in which two four-year terms are available. In that race, Brian Opyd, John O’Brien and incumbent Lynn Lacey are on the ballot.
“The vacancy occurred less than 123 days before the April 2 election,” said Bob Vear, president of the Park Board. “Consequently, the applicable statute did not allow that position to be placed on the ballot for the April election.”
Collins said there are several reasons why he did not run for one of the four-year terms.
“Some of it was I was busy and happy with Little League,” he said. “I saw the retirement of a commissioner, Bob Ashby. I saw it was not going to be a position filled by the election. They got to fill it otherwise.”
Collins was one of seven people who were considered by the park district to fill the vacancy. He said he believes that being a lawyer helped him land the position.
“We go through a lot of training,” Collins said. “It requires us to examine things from every kind of angle.”
Collins, who has experience with real estate transactions, workers compensation issues and contract negotiations, credited his professional background for enabling him to think big picture.
“As attorneys, we’re trained to think about not just the decision today, but does this set a precedent moving forward,” he said.
Collins said that while he has not previously served the park district, he sees a lot of the issues it faces.
“Working with the Little League, I’ve worked on the fields, which are owned by the park district,” he said. “I’ve been involved with scheduling. We’ve worked with their supervisor of fields over the years. I was part of a board for a not-for-profit, the Lance Corporal Johnson Collins Foundation. With those guys, it was about fundraising. We helped build a soccer field.”
Collins heaped praise on the executive director and staff for their efforts to run the park district.
“Him and his staff, they’ve done a good job with the park district,” he said. “The recreation center is constantly busy. The parks are in good shape.”
Collins said he has goals in mind for the park district.
“I think right now having been to several of the board meetings, one of the things that the park district is looking at is trying to resolve the parking situation at the recreation center,” he said. “That is an important area to resolve. We’ve got a lot of users going to the recreation facility. That’s fantastic, but where the people can park has become an issue. That’s a goal of the board.”
Collins will serve the remainder of a term that is set to expire in 2021.