Chicago Park District parks budget requests

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Chicago Park District Release of 2019 Proposed Budget & Public Budget Hearing - Wednesday, December 5th
The Chicago Park District has released the 2019 Budget rec
ommendations<> document. To review your park's budget and to see the whole document, visit the park district's Budget and Management webpage<>. The Chicago Park District will have their public budget hearing<> on the proposed budget on Wednesday, December 5th at 11:30am at the Park District's Administration Building, 8th floor, 541 N. Fairbanks, Chicago, Illinois 60611. The deadline to sign up to speak is by 4pm on Monday, December 3rd. The Board of Commissioners will vote on the budget at their monthly meeting, scheduled for December 12th (see details below). If you do not see your park's budget page or have questions, please reach out to Friends of the Parks at (312) 857-2757 ext. 7 or<>.

Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners Meeting - Wednesday, December 12th
The complete 2018 meeting schedule<> is posted on the Park District website. You can speak on behalf of your park or parks issue by signing up<> by 4pm the MONDAY before. The December meeting is Wednesday, December 12th at 11:30am at the Park District's Administration Building, 8th floor, 541 N. Fairbanks, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Check the District's website<> to confirm the meeting time, location and agenda. NOTE: The Park District has changed the deadline for signing-up to speak for the People in the Parks section. It was changed from the day before the meeting and is now the Monday before the meeting. The time remains 4pm.


Share your budget ideas and concerns or submit written comments only through the dedicated budget webmin form by clicking on the link below. (The CPD 2016 has been adopted.)


Thoughts on the proposed 2019 park district budget. By Gary Ossewaarde, Jackson Park Advisory Council (from JPAC Newsletter Deecember 2018).

Check at the CPD website regarding signing up to speak-- as the rules are a little relaxed vs. for regular meetings. The number of hearings and their convenience has decreased over the years. Also, there have been complaints that a committee for ongoing review of spending for equity was recently removed from the PD Code of Conduct. A couple months ago the PD put out statistics they say shows that spending is equitably spread throughout the city (though not necessarily park to park), and announced an open door procedure to bring perceived needs and inequities directly to the Board. This writer has served on various committees and boards that looked at equity issues among parks and found that it is very hard to have a representative enough presence of the many PACs and parks to avoid squeaky wheel syndrome while taking account of the impact of major capital projects and that youth often have to travel very far to find the program they need, and so to and make solid recommendations. Still, something could be set up, perhaps starting with Area sectors.

Highlights. The $464 million total is up nearly a half percent without a property tax increase. (The portion or total assessment going to parks has dropped over 15 years from 7.9 percent to 4.9, the PD says.) However, summer ($292 for 6 weeks) and other camp fees will increase as much as 8 percent—but the district continues to have ability-to-pay tiered pricing as well as free scholarships and accommodations for DCFS and other families. The PD has figures that show registration is very high and has doubled overall over the past 8 years. However, we notice that not all programs or all parks have equally high sign up. (If you know of programs not on the Jackson Park schedule that you think would be successful and want JPAC to seek for our park, please let us know.) The PD continually reassigns resources for expected demand or to staff new parks/programs. Overall 27 full time but vacant recreation positions are cut. The park district says new large facilities are money generators that pay for scholarship positions in other parks. Increased this year are some programs that are high priority to JPAC—Natural Resources, Outdoor and Environmental Education, and the Youth Sailing Program. The sailing program (which is at Jackson and Montrose) will be expanded and have more high school teams. More Nature Play Spaces are opening: JPAC continues to propose one or more here. We do try to think holistically so are pleased to see, for example Gately track and Big Marsh projects proceed. and look while putting in for strategic improvements in Jackson such as the improved track and fields, Iowa building and at LaRabida as well as our ongoing top priority of fieldhouse.
The August 2018 Newsletter (pp. 5-6) ran an article on beach, waters and lifeguard issues. We will be watching any impact of a shift of hours (many not actually worked, PD says) from lakefront lifeguard hours to the very much smaller but increasingly popular aquatic coaching staff (adding two positions in 2019). Learning swimming is a highly important skill for kid, and a requirement for sailing. But there is concern that beaches be staffed during times people are most likely to enter the water. Also important is work planned in harbors including Jackson Park- gate and dock replacement at the Outer Harbor. This is underwritten by $8 million in bonds. Some say the PD bond debt remains high. We understand that the PD is attempting to assemble funds for repairs to collapsing historic bastion walls at the end of Promontory Drive by LaRabida.


Notable in the 2017 budget: No property tax increase. Program fees go up about a dollar per hour (financial assistance and free scholarships ocntinue)/ Parking goes up $.25 per hour- most by beaches and harbors will be $2 per hour, the increase behind MSI would go up between x25 and $1. Harbor fees go up about 2 percent (nonresident sucharge at 31st is waived). Go Run is in more parks. A joint program with CPS will bring sports to more middle school kids. Capital projects continue. Various pension special payments are made.


Tips for councils to protect your park from budget cuts- Friends of the Parks 2009

Broaden the team of park friendly supporters - the issue is quality of life for citizens in the community.

Publicly post your.. meetings and expand outreach so more people and elected officials will care.
Prepare a brocure stating activities and special events.
Attend LSC, PTA, Beat meetings and share what's happening in the park. Note there is an "Adopt-A-Park" program.
Host beat and district area council meetngs at the park (note-they won't now that parks charge); get to know officers and police commanders.
Host bi-annual open houses with the supervisors, and or a walk-through. Document the park ahead of time or with officials, get officials in the park.
Issue media alerts about programs and elections. Know the media.
Testify at park board meeting and budget hearings, city council committee meetings.
Invite Friends of the Parks to meetings share ideas.