Tag Archives: Kathy Curtis

Maple Park notes

by Martha Quetsch
Board re-appoints village clerk
The Maple Park Village Board on June 2 approved the appointment of Claudia Tremaine as village clerk for 2009-10. Village President Kathy Curtis appointed Tremaine to the position, which she has held since the early 1990s.

Group to install picnic table

The Maple Park Family Fund will pay to install a picnic table on the south playground behind the Civic Center in memory of Marianne Delaney. The Village Board approved the installation Monday.

Curtis: Fewer committees practical, more effective

by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—To streamline the work of village committees, Maple Park will reduce their number, said Village President Kathy Curtis.

After the Village Board approves an ordinance June 4 allowing for the change that Curtis proposed, the village will have three village committees instead of six. Committees include several trustees and staff members who work on village issues and bring recommendations to the Village Board.

The new committees will be Personnel and Communications; Finance, Public Relations and Development; and Infrastructure.

Currently the village has six committees: Finance, Streets, Water and Sewer, Parks and Grounds, Police and Planning.

The new committees will begin meeting after the board passes the ordinance.

Curtis also recommended establishing a Committee of the Whole (COW), made up of all trustees, to meet monthly. The first COW meeting was May 16, during which trustees talked about the three-committee structure.

Curtis said committee structure changes are practical.

“All seven of us (on the Village Board) work full time and have varying schedules,” Curtis said. “I considered how we could organize ourselves to be effective and the trustees were in agreement.”

Curtis takes the reins in Maple Park

by Lynn Meredith
A crowd of Maple Park community members filled the meeting room at the Civic Center on Tuesday night to say goodbye to the village’s out-going village president and to welcome its new president.

Kathy Curtis was sworn in after Ross Dueringer conducted the old business on the agenda and said his thanks and goodbyes. He served the village for 19 years, first as a trustee, then on the Planning Commission and finally for the last four years as the president.

“I know I am leaving the village better than when I got here,” Dueringer said.

New trustees Debra Armstrong and Suzanne Fahnestock, along with incumbent Terry Borg, were also sworn in. They replace Erl Pederson and Kathy Curtis as trustees.

“I’m very honored to be here. I want to say thank you
to my supporters. I am proud of the work accomplished with
Ross Dueringer over the last four years. Together
with the help of the community and the board we can continue.”

New MP Village President Kathy Curtis

“New faces and ideas are a good thing.
Kathy is the new face of the leader of
Maple Park—and (hers) is a much prettier
face than mine. I wish her the best.”

Outgoing Village President Ross Dueringer

“Ross (Dueringer) and I have made a lot of
decisions together over the last 19 years.
Look around. We’ve got sidewalks and streets
… There was a lot of common sense used to
keep it going, to make it a good place
to raise a family.”

Trustee Roger Kahl

April 7 Maple Park election results

The following unofficial results are courtesy of Kane and DeKalb counties. Winners are listed in bold.

Maple Park Village President

Ross Dueringer    158
Kathleen Curtis    176

Maple Park Village Board

Vote for three
Debra M. Armstrong    133
Suzanne A. Fahnestock    120
Terry E. Borg    129

Maple Park Tax referendum

Yes    88
No    234

Let the people decide

MP police referendum puts question to voters
by Lynn Meredith
All referendum questions have one thing in common: They all ask for money to pay for services. Maple Park’s police referendum is no different. It is seeking additional dollars to help fund police department operations.

The Village Board members agree that the department does not have enough money to operate effectively. They are asking for what amounts to taxes of $16 more per year on a $100,000 house for the first year and small increases through 2012.

Currently, five part-time officers provide 56 hours of patrol coverage each week. Additionally, an officer is on-call for one eight-hour shift every 24 hours. If an emergency arises when no patrol coverage is provided, Maple Park relies on the Kane County Sheriff’s Department to respond to the scene and stabilize the situation until an on-call officer from Maple Park can arrive.

“The police referendum that is on the ballot, if passed, would be a revenue stream that would support the Police Department in general,” Trustee Kathy Curtis said.

With a police budget of $93,000, the department faces the issue of not only paying the costly on-call hours, but also retaining enough officers to staff the force.

“They are not overpaid,” President Ross Dueringer said. “We’re giving them $16 an hour to take a bullet.”
While all the trustees agree that the question should be placed on the ballot, trustee Terry Borg does not support its passage.

“Until this board gets our act together, until we exhaust all avenues of aid from the county, we can’t expect anybody to vote for increases in taxes,” Borg said. “I did vote to place the referendum (on the ballot). I believe citizens should have the opportunity to vote on it.”

He sees problems with the use of on-call to operate the Police Department.

“The on-call policy is a budget-breaker for us,” Borg said.

Dueringer is not happy with the arrangement, but said they are doing the best they can with limited funds. He advocates passing the referendum to help solve the issues.

Borg said that internal politics have gotten in the way of hiring a police chief.

“Why do we not have a police chief? I continue to ask that question. We’ve spent $1,000 or more on ads,” Borg said.

Curtis said that since the board could not stop arguing about money and that there simply is not enough, the best thing is to put the issue to the residents.

Perspectives on growth

by Lynn Meredith
One thing people can agree on is that growth, for the time being, has slowed significantly. The economy, housing market and credit crunch have all contributed to reducing the number of homes and businesses that are coming into the Kaneland area. However, each of the four Kaneland towns has a different perspective on growth for their village.

Sugar Grove
There was a time when the village of Sugar Grove issued 200 building permits in one year. In 2008, it issued 24 permits. In the past, the village saw a rise in single-family homes, with several subdivisions being developed.

“Growth wasn’t as hot and heavy as in other suburbs,” Community Development Director Rich Young said. “ But for our relative size, we saw a lot of growth.”

One large subdivision, Settler’s Ridge, finished 117 homes with 100 lots ready to be built on and land ready to be developed. With the reversal in the economy and housing market, houses are not being built at nearly the same rate.

“Growth has fallen off significantly,” Young said. “They predict that 2009 will not be much better than 2008.”

Although three developments are still active, two that were approved but never annexed have either decided not to go forward or declared bankruptcy.

Young said that Sugar Grove has seen some activity in commercial building, with builders showing interest in future development. Still, office and commercial buildings sit empty.
The village is working with local commercial brokers to promote the village both regionally and nationally.

“We’re trying to be proactive on a limited budget,” Young said. “We should see growth ramp back up slowly and hope by the end of the calendar year of 2010 to see it start to return.”

Maple Park
For a village of 750 people, the influx of a possible 3,000 homes in two major subdivisions would change the small town of Maple Park. The village set in motion plans to improve the town well, and build a new water tower and wastewater treatment plant with the money it would receive from the developers.

In addition, the village approved two strip malls on the southwestern and northeastern corners of the intersection of Route 38 and County Line Road.

All that has come to a halt.

“With no impact fees, we’re left hanging,” said village Financial Committee Chairman Kathy Curtis. “We’re running the town on taxpayers’ money.”
For now, the village plans to paint the old water tower and apply for grants to help the aging infrastructure.

As the economy improves, so will bond prices. When that happens, Curtis said, it will be one year for developers to be able to make the improvements the town has counted on.
“It will take 10 years for us to build out,” Curtis said. “We’ll still be a small town for the next 20 years.”

In the last five years, Elburn has seen several new commercial-manufacturing buildings and new commercial and industrial businesses. The surprising twist is that most of the new businesses came to town in 2008.

Community Development Director Erin Willrett lists 14 new businesses in 2008, including Walgreen’s, Fox Valley Driving School, Green Light Driving School, Boyce Body Werks, Munchie P’s and Good Call Plumbing Services.

In past years, there were not nearly as many new businesses. In 2003, two new businesses started in Elburn. In 2004, three businesses, Curves, Genoa Pizza and American Bank and Trust opened.

In 2005, five new businesses started, and in 2006, two, Elburn Auto Repair and Jewel, came to town. Five businesses opened in 2007, and by 2008, there were a total of 28 commercial and industrial businesses that had started in the previous five years.

Currently within the village, there are five industrial parks and one potential park for the future. In Keystone Industrial Park, 48 lots exist, and nine are vacant. In Welch Creek Business Park, 10 buildable lots exist with three vacancies.

Kaneville has a plan in place for growth in the village. It’s called the 2030 plan, and calls for not just growth for growth’s sake, but for smart growth. Its Planning Commission is working with Kane County to see what that means.

“We want smart growth,” village trustee and owner of Hill’s Country Store Pat Hill said. “We want a few businesses and a few houses.”

Hill said that a subdivision on Dauberman Road had been dug in, ready for roads to be put in, but now nothing is going on. Ten lots had been sold out of a possible 40, but now only two have been sold. The other buyers either got their money back or lost it.

With acres and acres of prime black-dirt farmland around, Hill said she finds it a shame to build on the best farm land or on wetlands. She enjoys the thrill of farmers bringing in the Indian arrowheads they have found while working up the land.

Photo: Kevin Cook’s Elburn Pack and Ship was just one of the new businesses to come to Elburn in the last year. Photo by Sarah Rivers

What people want

by Lynn Meredith
“What do you want to see in your town in the future?”

That was the question posed to random and not-so-random people on the street and in the businesses of Kaneville, Maple Park, Sugar Grove and Elburn.

In a nut shell, people want their towns to be liveable, with conveniences and amenities that make life easier.

Elburn residents are looking for ways to keep the downtown vital and connected.

With Elburn part of the commuter railroad line into Chicago, Elburn resident Richard Andrzejewski would like to see better access from the train station to downtown.

“I would like access from downtown to the train, just to open it up for getting in and out,” Adrzejewski said. “It would bring more visitors to Elburn from other towns that are on the train line, too.”

Downtown Elburn is the place Peggy McCann, who has lived in the village for two years, would like to see full of stores. She and her husband patronize as many local businesses as they can, going to Ream’s Meat Market and Dave’s Barbershop, both located on Main Street (Route 47).

“I would like to see all the stores occupied downtown. Because we patronize the community, we like to shop downtown Elburn rather than anywhere else,” McCann said.

She likes the idea of having multiple stores open in downtown locations, like when Gliddon’s Drugs and the Grocery Store were both downtown, or when Sears opened in the former Grocery Store location.

“We really like it here. We’d just like to see other stores occupied. It would help out the economy and everything else,” McCann said.

A few more services in Kaneville are what Pat Hill of Hill’s Country Store would like to see.

While she knows that many people in the town would like to see a gas station, for her, the convenience store that goes along with a gas station would not be good for business.

“We need a gas station eventually; it’s inevitable,” Hill said. “But it would kill my business.”

Hill said she would like to see a pizza place instead. She also envisions an antique store and a doctor or dentist office.

“That would be very good revenue for the town, bringing people in,” Hill said.

Those polled in Maple Park said they would like to see a rejuvenation and revitalization of the town.

Librarian Suki Blake would like to see more businesses in downtown that would keep Maple Park from becoming a “bedroom community” where people sleep, but work and purchase goods in other places.

“I would like to see more community-friendly businesses so that the essence of small-town does not change in Maple Park, but that there is more offered so that people who are here will stay,” Blake said.

Blake said that little restaurants and cottage industries could survive. She doesn’t see the need for big box stores.

“We don’t need a Wal-Mart in Maple Park. There are two or three shopping centers very close by,” Blake said.

She added that an organized Park District would be a way to bring jobs to town.

Village trustee Kathy Curtis sees infrastructure repair as the key element in rejuvenating the town.

“We need to aggressively pursue revenue streams to upgrade, maintain and repair our infrastructure,” Curtis said.

She said that by repairing the streets, sidewalks, water and sewer, it not only would prevent further flooding like that which devastated the town in the fall, but would also improve the look of the town.

Curtis said two strip mall projects are approved for the southwest and northeast corners of Route 38 and County Line Road. She would like to see those fill with commercial businesses.

Residents in Sugar Grove want the convenience and tax break relief that commercial development would bring.

“I would like to see a lot more commercial coming in here to help alleviate some of the taxes,” Beth Blake of Sugar Grove said. “We’ve got residential here; now we need to get more business.”

Dunkin Donuts sounds good to her. She believes that spending her retail dollars in Sugar Grove is better than going into Geneva, Batavia or Aurora. She doesn’t want retail in the downtown area because it is residential and doesn’t “want it in her backyard, either.” She sees the acres of land farmed by local farmers as appropriate for industrial and commercial development.

“They want to try to keep it quaint, but this isn’t going to be a quaint farmer’s town anymore,” Blake said. “We’ve certainly got a lot of raw farmland around here.”

The Smiths, who moved to Sugar Grove from Hinckley, want the convenience of a lumberyard or a discount store.

“At our age, we want convenience. Quaint little shops are just way too much money,” Wendy Smith said. “But we’re really glad they’re building a new library.”

For James Mullet, he wants just two things.

“I want them to fix the potholes and get more books in the library,” Mullet said.

Police hiring process blocked

by Lynn Meredith
The Maple Park Village Board sorted out the hiring of police officers at its meeting on Feb 3.

The board voted down a motion to accept two police officers to be part of a pool of candidates for future employment, and it tabled a motion to hire another officer under a probationary period. It also approved the hiring of two officers already working for the department by taking them off probation.

The 1-4 vote not to accept the candidates and the 4-1 vote to table the hiring of another came after lengthy discussion. Erl Pederson, chairman of the Police Committee, voted in opposition to the rest of the board. He strongly urged the board to consider the short-staffed Police Department, which is operating despite the medical leave of one officer and the recent resignation of another.

“We’re in a very serious situation in regards to employees for the Police Department. We don’t have enough people to go around. We have one officer in charge, and we have one policeman who can give us time,” Pederson said.

Committee member Kathy Curtis explained to the board that on Dec. 15, the Police Committee interviewed six part-time officers. Three of the six were chosen to be given background checks and further consideration. She said that the committee never met to discuss the results of the background checks and which ones would be hired under probation and which ones would be left in a pool for future employment.

“We never had a Police Committee meeting, and no conclusions were ever made about which ones were going on probation and which were not,” Curtis said. “My point being this never went to committee, and it’s supposed to be a majority vote to be able to put a motion like this on the agenda.”

Village President Ross Dueringer said he was told that the candidate being hired was the only one who could give the department any hours.

Pederson commented to the board following the decision to not accept the two officers for future employment.

“Again it’s been demonstrated that everyone wants anything but what’s good for the village of Maple Park,” he said.

Curtis to run for Maple Park president

by Lynn Meredith

The race is on for president of the Maple Park Village Board. Trustee Kathy Curtis announced her plans to run in April. In November, Village President Ross Dueringer announced that he would run for a second term.

Curtis was elected to the Village Board in 2005, serving on the Police Committee and as Financial Committee chairman.

“I’ve been contemplating running for village president for the entire four years,” Curtis said. “Over the next four years is the time for the board to organize itself and work on its vision for the future.”

Curtis wants to see the aging infrastructure of Maple Park repaired, maintained and upgraded to avoid problems with flooding, like what occurred this fall, and to repair the streets and sewers. She also wants to ensure that once repaired, the infrastructure stays well-maintained.

“I want to aggressively pursue revenue streams to repair infrastructure. I want an annual maintenance program so that it stays maintained,” Curtis said.

Curtis says that federal programs and grants are available to repair the sewer system, the water tower, streets and sidewalks. An annual maintenance program could pay for something like the water tower and its upkeep.

Curtis said the board needs to take the next four to five years, while the housing market is down, to go after funding.

“Just because the housing market dropped, we can’t stop visioning the future,” Curtis said. “Without impact fees (from subdivisions), we’re left hanging. We’re running the town on taxpayer money, and that’s only our operating expenses. We need to invest back into infrastructure.”

She wants to make sure the board acts fiscally responsibly by using tax money and not squandering cash reserves.

She also wants to encourage others to run for the Village Board.

“We need more people to come out for trustee positions. We need involvement if we’re going to go anywhere in the next 10 years,” Curtis said.