• Megann Horstead

Park District to sell $1.25 million in bonds to pay for former police station land


New Lenox Community Park District Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance preparing for the sale of $1.25 million in bonds at its July 19 meeting.

The vote allows the park district to pay off the acquisition of 701 W. Haven Ave., formerly the site of the New Lenox Police Station, by the year’s end. Board action positions the board to secure an estimated $1.171 million to help balance its budget.

The matter was last discussed at a June 21 special meeting.

New Lenox Community Park District executive director Greg Lewis said they will seek the assistance of Piper Jaffray, a full-service U.S. investment bank and asset management firm, to match the park district with the best-fit financial institution.

The park district anticipates the bond being sold in the next 30 days, at which point the terms and limits of the bond will become available.

Lewis stressed that it’s important to note residents will not see any tax increase as a result of the board’s decision.

In a 4-0 vote, the park board decided to approve the measure. Commissioner Bill Thomson was absent from the meeting.

Park District officials amend rules on parking

Also at the meeting, New Lenox Community Park District officials reviewed rules regulating general use of park district property.

The park district recently added parking lots in accordance with Village codes.

“This just amends our general use regulation ordinance No. 8,” Lewis said. “Once the board passes, this goes into effect on all park district property, and then it also travels over any intergovernmental on school properties that we’re using for athletic purposes or recreation purposes.”

Issues with parking have been noted on park district property, park district officials said.

The amended rules stipulate that it is unlawful to park overnight, block in another parked vehicle, restrict or impede the normal flow of traffic, to occupy more than one parking space and park in a zone area posted as prohibited or special parking.

Offenders who violate Park District rules are subject to fines as low as $10 but not more than $500. Fees collected as a result of enforcing the amended rules will go to the Park District.

The Park District’s Board of Commissioners determined that a fee is necessary for the construction, maintenance, repair and/or expansion of the parking lot and/or facility.

“The bottom line is the parking lots are there for our patrons, spectators and visitors,” Lewis said.

Vandalism at Walker Country Estates Park discussed

Park District staff provided an update on recent vandalism at Walker Country Estates Park.

The incident took place off hours between July 3 and July 4 and resulted in just under $250 worth of turf damage.

“Staff repaired the ruts quickly—next day,” said George Travnicek, director of parks—maintenance of New Lenox Community Park District. ”We were fortunate that the damage could have been a lot worse. …That correlates with how much our district spends on vandalism.”

Over the years, vandalism to Park District property has varied.

“Most common form of vandalism is graffiti,” Travnicek said. “This year our storage barn at Lion’s Den was burned down, along with two hand wash units being set on fire at Bentley and Tyler schools. Arson does the most damage. Porta Johns have been a common target. Several playgrounds throughout the years have been burned down, which has been the most extensive damage.”

Travnicek said additional patrols were requested in and around the Walker Country Estates Park, especially after hours.

The turf is anticipated to be ready for the start of the Park District’s flag football season.

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