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Park District candidates address economy

Wednesday, March 25, 2009  
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By Mike Wiser
Posted Mar 25, 2009 @ 10:30 PM

ROCKFORD — Five people are vying for the two Rockford Park District seats being vacated by Harris Agnew and Laura Williamson.

The candidates include a lawyer, a painter, a landscape architect, a business executive and a college public relations specialist. In addition to their occupations, each brings a history of community involvement and government experience at various levels.

The Rockford Register Star asked each candidate the same two-part question: “What is the biggest challenge facing the Rockford Park District? What is the best way to address it?”

All five answered the first part the same way. To a person, they believe the biggest challenge is running the district during these tough economic times. Two of the candidates answered over the phone and three e-mailed their responses to the Register Star:

Ian Linnabary is a veteran of several local political campaigns, an outdoors enthusiast and well-known fundraiser for causes.

“The Park District should focus its limited resources on the maintenance of its current parks, facilities and services,” the attorney wrote in an e-mail response to the question.

“At the same time, new sources of revenue should be identified to enhance the preservation of existing assets and ensure growth of the district without placing unnecessary financial strain on the taxpayers.”

Chuck Brown is the director of communications and new media for Rockford College. He has worked on behalf of a number of local causes and, before coming to Rockford, served as an alderman in Schofield, Wis., for 16 years.

“Budgets need to be carefully scrutinized to ensure payback on our investment as taxpayers.

Along with this, the Park District must be linked to the needs and desires of its constituents.

There must be an ongoing dialogue with all segments of the community to make sure the needs of the people are aligned with the resources and programs of the district,” he responded in an e-mail.

“The Park District’s own survey of residents last year pointed to a need to better communicate its value to taxpayers, and to promote its programs and services. As a professional communicator for more than 30 years, this is an area where I feel I can make a difference.”

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