Advisory Council and Chicago Park District information

A service of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Parks Committee and the HPKCC website, www.hydepark.org. Reach us at hpkcc@aol.com. Parks Chair Gary Ossewaarde

To current Park Council Schedule page

To All Calendars and Directories

PAC CODE OF CONDUCT 2013

Regular dates of area park advisory councils
with contact information

Note: Kennicott and Kenwood Parks are now in the Central Region. The remaining non-Lakefront are now in the South Region. Always look at the Parks homepage as meetings are sometimes moved in or and location. We hope that Bessie Coleman park will soon have a council and Kenwood Park's revived--both will be in the Central Region.
Budget hearings- visit Budget.

 

Updated schedule of regular meetings. An expanded chart of status, meetings, contacts et al follows.

To pages on park councils in the hydepark.org website. The links spelled out are to each PAC's own site.
Bixler- current information is being ascertained.

 

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Presidents (as of July 17, 2015)

Cornell Park-Norm Bell

Spruce Park -Carol Moy

Midway- Bronwyn Nichols-Lodato

Stout- Kenneth East

Nichols-Stephanie Franklin ( no email) phone 773-955-3622

Jackson- Louise McCurry

To be revised with new councils including Cornell, Harold Washington.

 

Chicago Park District has issued revised Council Guidelines. Guiding councils at CPD includes Dana Andrews, 312 742-4762.

Friends of the Parks has revised its Park Advisory Council Handbook. (ask at http://www.fotp.org), 773 857-5727.)

Some matters covered in the latter include What is a PAC, Who can jon? What is the relationship to the Park District (advisory and collaborative), How to start a council and what issues should the council address, Tips on communications, Strategies (elected officials, board meetings, FOIA, FOTP connection; Funding resources and goals, getting fiscal sponsorship, seed and other grants..., and directory of resources.

Park advisory councils were established and recognized by the Park District starting about 1981-2 to advise concerning their parks. This was pursuant to settlement of a class action suit in federal court alleging discrimination against and neglect of south and west side park needs by the District. The councils are the recognized bodies representing their communities and to which the district has to listen but not necessarily agree and follow through. It is this writer's observation that those councils are most successful that are both proactive and constructive in advice and insist that they be consulted first and immediately about changes and projects. Even when a project is not deemed bad but only half-measure and partly off the mark, councils should not be afraid to say "No", then let the District come to them and negotiate until the details are right. Although their role is only advisory, they often take a leading role and have great power, in part because they are the eyes and ears and often hands in the park day after day, year after year. They should act as an asset and resource for their park (having of course done their homework) and should expect to be treated as such by the District. Actually doing things and raising funds/spending for the park and its users is not only responsible but a good source of respect from both their community and the Park District and its staff. And councils are wise to have long-range planning committees that are ready with specifics and sketches, discussed with the park supervisor and area or regional manager, park neighbors, community leaders/stakeholders, and the alderman well before the budget rounds start. And don't be shy in seeking publicity/press and holding big meetings, and being friends if possible with your alderman. Too many parks do not have active councils. Friends of the Parks provides many services, resources and training. 312 857-2757. The Center for Neighborhood Technology also has a Parks Alliance with resources. Contact Karen Hobbs there.

The Chicago Park District has published Guidelines (latest in 2008) for the organization and operation of councils. Please visit the CPD website, Departments, Legislative and Community, click Find Out More for links. (Copies should be available at the Region offices). Friends of the Parks also publishes a very helpful guide, newly revised. Also helpful is a park district booklet on establishing dog parks, which is really a primer on getting any facility or special arrangement for your park or for your community in your park, or a new park.

Certain park district council rules rules are very important:

Otherwise, councils largely adopt their own rules and find their own roles- as the District says they should, and they can resist District efforts at standardization, for example, with a common date for elections. Many don't find it necessary to have officers or bylaws, although if organized--especially if as a 501--and a formal request for recognition is submitted to the District, certain offices have to be filled, and in any case the contact/lead should be given to the District Outreach Manager. Only a few councils are 501 nonprofits. Councils that take in more than a few dollars are well advised to set up their own account and/or spend the money on things for their park or risk their money being "swept up" by the Park District, and to link up with a 501 fund manager such as the park district-affiliated Parkways Foundation or Friends of the Parks or their local neighborhood association or chamber of commerce.

This writer advises councils to hold at least quarterly meetings and to strive for new blood and turnover in order to remain viable.

Stephanie Franklin, President of Nichols Park, advises: regularize your proceedings and standing with the Park District, have your own bank account and be or hook up with a non-profit, and seek members-especially in a 3 block radius of the park.

HPKCC parks chair is Louise McCurry, commissioner751@icloud.net. 773 844-2225.


Chicago Park District information and meetings

(More in Parks Directory)

The Chicago Park District is headquartered at 541 North Fairbanks, 60611, 312 742-PLAY.
CEO and General Superintendent: Michael Kelly. Board of Commissioners: President Avis LaVelle (interim?), DMeets usually 2nd, sometimes 3rd Wednesdays at 11:30 am at 541 N. Fairbanks 8th floor. About once a quarter it is moved to a local park.

Region offices. Hyde Park and Kenwood are divided into two Chicago Park District Regions.

The South Region offices are at Tarkington Park. 312 747-7661.

Region Manager Maya Solis. Information: Area manager for our parks- Farah Tunks. 773 742-7661.

The Central Region offices (serving parks north of 51st Street) are in Garfield Park. Region Manager Art Richardson.