by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”The Sugar Grove Paratransit Coalition will end its participation in the countywide Ride in Kane program shortly after the beginning of the year.
The village of Sugar Grove, in conjunction with the Sugar Grove Township, Sugar Grove Public Library and Sugar Grove Park District, signed up to participate in the transportation program in May.
Each governmental entity provided $1,000 in funding for the first year to fund rides for residents with disabilities and/or low incomes to work, health care visits, adult daycare, child daycare or programs provided by the participating members of the coalition.
Supplemented with funding from the four entities, riders were to pay $3 for the first 10 miles of the trip and $1.50 for each additional mile.
Although nine people had signed up for the services, Sugar Grove village liaison Joe Wolf said the majority of the money was being utilized by one township resident, who needed to get to his dialysis appointment three times a week. Approximately $400 per month was being spent from the fund, Sugar Grove Village Clerk Cindy Welsch said.
â€œThe money was going to run out before the end of the fiscal year,â€ Wolf said.
According to Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede, the board members determined that they did not want to put additional funding into the project beyond the boardâ€™s initial commitment.
â€œOur mission is not really to provide transportation,â€ Repede said.
The Sugar Grove Park District currently partners with the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, which does provide transportation.
Repede said that Park District Board members felt the project was more closely linked to the missions of the village and the township, and that the district’s initial commitment was more to help out from an intergovernmental standpoint.
â€œWe don’t have the ability to sustain the program financially,â€ he said.
Sugar Grove Township Supervisor Dan Nagel said that the township had budgeted a certain amount of money this year to support the program.
â€œIn order to get more money, we have to take it away from somewhere else,â€ he said.
Sugar Grove Library District Board President Art Morrical said the hope was that more people would have taken advantage of the program.
â€œIt did not seem like a good use of funds for just one person,â€ he said.
Wolf said he thought that a budget of $4,000 a year for a program such as this was not enough funding to sustain it. He pointed to Blackberry Township, which started out with $10,000 for the first year.
â€œYou almost need that amount to ensure meeting more than one person’s needs,â€ he said. â€œI don’t think the township ever really bought into this. In good times, this kind of thing could have worked.â€
Welsch said that it was too bad the program did not work out.
â€œThe good news is that our residents look out for each other,â€ Welsch said.