Sycamore looking to better park

By Keisha Howerth

Sycamore Park District officials are hoping the positive feedback their Vision 20/20 video received will translate into voter support for a property tax increase to add park amenities.

The Park District recently released an 11-minute video detailing its Vision 20/20 plan, which looks to improve park amenities.

Through two community-wide surveys and a 21-member strategic planning team, the Park District has narrowed down seven areas in need of development: a connecting trail system, fixing the golf course irrigation system and adding a community center, sled hill, splash pad, dog park and sports complex.

“For the plan to come to fruition, the referendum needs to be passed,” said Ted Strack, Sycamore Park Board president. “We made the video because we wanted more people to be aware and educated when voting.”

Strack said the overall cost for the Vision 20/20 plan will be about $13 million. The park board plans to fund the plan with a third of the costs being paid through outside sources such as grants, private donations, sponsorships and stakeholder assistance.

According to the video, the Park Board has applied for grants for a trail system and community center. Ann Tucker, Sycamore Park Board treasurer, said the trail connection system will cost $2.3 million, and the community center will cost $6.2 million.

Michelle Schulz, Sycamore Park Board vice president, said the Park Board will pursue all available grant money for Vision 20/20.

“Nothing can happen until we have the money,” Schulz said. “To be successful, we need community support.”

Tucker said the tax increase would cost an average home owner in Sycamore about $90 a year in additional property tax, which is equal to about a quarter a day.

“It’s a reasonable price for something that’s important to the community,” Tucker said. “We have a great City Council, dedicated fire and police departments, award-winning schools and an excellent library. The parks need to be as good as the rest of the city.”