ELBURN – The newly formed Elburn Parks Commission has only met four times, but members have already created a five- and a 20-year plan.
The group – six commissioners and a chairman – are Elburn residents who volunteered and were chosen through an application process late last year. The idea was to have people on the commission who, together, would represent all four quadrants of the village.
Village President Jeff Walter, trustee at the time, and village Trustee Pat Schuberg are ex-officio members of the commission.
The members, who have solicited feedback from their friends and neighbors, as well as through a survey conducted during their Arbor Day Open House, have come up with wish lists for projects and estimated costs.
The first item, which was discussed at the Village Board meeting on May 15, is a plan for an ice skating rink on the elevated ballpark field north of the Elburn and Countryside Community Center. The group has obtained the support of ECCC Board member Pat Leyden about the idea, and according to Parks Commission Chair Dan Kolzow, he has offered to provide bleachers and lights for night-time skating, as well as to keep paths cleared to the rink.
Commissioner Dave Dickinson was particularly enthusiastic about the rink. He envisioned it being one of the first things people see when coming into town.
“I just really like this ice rink idea,” he said. “I think it’s really cool.”
Although some may feel it’s a bit premature to be talking about an ice rink in May, this group has done its research. It found an option at a cost of $5,000 that will be available at 10 percent off during a sale in July. The Village Board will vote to approve the project at its next regularly scheduled meeting in June.
“It’s an easy, quick hit,” Walter said.
Walter added that the project also satisfies another goal of the commission – forming a partnership with the community center. The commission also hopes to form partnerships with other groups in town, including the Elburn Lions Club and the Blackberry Creek Homeowner’s Association. The HOA will attend the group’s next meeting to discuss options within the subdivision.
The group’s first priority is to create a map that will survey all the land available within the village for various possibilities. Walter said they will then begin making decisions about what makes sense to put on different properties.
“We’ve got a lot of land,” Walter said.
Other ideas the commission has come up with for the next couple of years include a geocaching project they want to do with Elburn Boy Scout Troop 7, the installation of bike racks and bike repair stations at strategic places throughout the village, stop signs for bicyclists, trail markers, fitness stations, and a community garden, as well as a larger project with Liberty Park.
They have spent time poring over catalogs of playground equipment. They have been brainstorming fundraising ideas, including a wine and cheese event and a dodge ball tournament.
Walter has encouraged the group to think broadly about what it might accomplish.
“Don’t hold back if there’s something you want to try,” he said.
“There’s no idea we don’t want to talk about,” he explained later.
The group’s available budget for projects, the village’s recreation fund, begins this fiscal year with a balance of nearly $66,000.
The village has committed to adding half of the money annually received from gambling revenues, for an average of $11,000 per year. This money will be combined with private donations and grants to accomplish some of the larger items.
The group is also interested in hearing more from residents about their ideas and hopes for Elburn parks and recreation.
The next scheduled meeting of the commission will be at 7 p.m. June 20 at Elburn Village Hall, and everyone is welcome to attend.
“They’re a super-active, smart group of people,” Walter said. “They’re a diverse group of folks, and they’re coming up with some good ideas.”
Members of the Elburn Parks Commission are Dan Kolzow, chair, and Dave Dickinson, Patrick Leach, Brian McCarty, Rob Reilley, Amy Szumny and Dawn Kuefler.