Ridgeville to work with Evanston-Skokie D.65 on programming
Children dash for eggs during an Easter egg hunt at the Ridgeville Park District in Evanston. Evanston-Skokie District 65 officials have agreed to work with the Park District on expanded programming. | File
Updated: April 22, 2013 10:07AM
EVANSTON – The tiny Ridgeville Park District will collaborate with Evanston-Skokie School District 65 to expand programming, under a recent verbal agreement.
Dan Coyne, a candidate for the Park District Board, asked the District 65 Board of Education last month to open its doors to the Park District and allow a park official to report to the board annually.
Although no formal vote was taken, District 65 Board President Katie Bailey assured Coyne that the board and the district administration are interested in hearing more.
“I think I can speak for the board and the administration in terms of institutionalizing the relationship,” Bailey said. “We’d be happy to hear what you are doing and how we can work together.”
In a 7-minute presentation, Coyne outlined the history and geography of the 74-year-old Park District, which spans just 14 acres in south Evanston. The district’s annual budget is about $600,000 to $650,000, he said.
Ridgeville serves about 6,000 residents who live between Greenleaf and Howard streets, Coyne said. Oakton and Chute schools are within the Park District’s limits, Bailey said.
“There are some wonderful things going on for adults and children alike in using our recreation and parks in various helpful and legal ways,” Coyne said. “But I also believe there is an opportunity to improve upon what we’ve been doing.”
A consortium of 40 leaders from private and public organizations is exploring ways to create new opportunities in the Park District, he said. Hardy Murphy, superintendent of District 65, is a member of the consortium, Coyne said.
“In short we’re simply asking if we can come perhaps once a year to update you on what we’re doing,” he said. “Also, if an idea or two comes by our way, do you mind us tossing that into the ringer for your discernment?
“If there are ways our Park District may be able to help our constituents in (District) 65, we’d be very interested in doing that.”
District 65 Board Member Jerome Summers asked Coyne what types of things could be improved.
“Open up your doors. Be transparent,” Coyne said of Ridgeville. “Include the entire community. Don’t be a little country club. Make sure everybody feels welcome in the parks.”
For example, one idea Coyne has is to seek contributions from the private sector in order to provide every District 65 kindergartner with a free bookshelf, he said.