by Keith Beebe
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park Village President Kathy Curtis’ thoughts on the village’s 2012 accomplishments are short and to the point.
“(We) had another good year,” she said. “Maple Park operates on limited resources, but thanks to the village staff and creative thinking, we were able to accomplish a lot with little.”
Creativity was indeed king in Maple Park in 2012. According to Curtis, village employees remodeled the Maple Park Civic Center in order to make it a more organized, professional and a technology-enhanced work space. The village also purchased a snow plow from Virgil Township, and contracted a new building inspector who has “improved operational standards” during his short time in Maple Park.
The Village Code book was made available on Maple Park’s website in 2012, and is now more accessible to local residents. In addition, Curtis said the village Police Department continues to provide a variety of programs for children and young adults.
According to Curtis, the village’s greatest achievement in 2012 ties in closely to its biggest shortcoming.
“Maple Park implemented a TIF district and completed a water main update project in the original sections of town. The water main project upgraded all remaining 4-inch lines (to improve) water pressure and fire flows,” she said. “It is unfortunate that the TIF District has not had projects. We implemented the district with hope of generating new revenue streams to be re-invested in our infrastructure.”
Despite disappointment with lack of activity in the TIF District, Curtis said she doesn’t have any real regrets regarding the events of 2012.
“The Village Board works collaboratively, and we challenge each other,” she said. “The decisions we make are well reviewed before action is taken; that helps minimize the hindsight.”
Maple Park’s chief goal in 2013 is to be sustainable, provide quality service on a tight budget and plan maintenance projects to avoid emergency situations, Curtis said, adding that she constantly worries about the village’s “vintage infrastructure.”
“We maintain a frugal budget. In 2011, we tapped into our cash reserves to match funds we received from grants to complete a variety of projects, (including a) new roof on the Civic Center, the paving of the Civic Center parking lot that extends to Green Street, and a water main project in the northeast corridor of town,” she said.
“It will take us at least two years to rebuild our funds. The reserves we have now, we need to preserve in the event of emergency.”
Curtis will run unopposed for re-election in April, and said she hopes to see increased activity in the village’s TIF District.
“In this economy, it is in our best interest to move forward in that area cautiously,” she said.