Tag Archives: Sugar Grove Park District

SG Park District Board member moving on

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove Park District Board member Eleanor Rzeminiski decided not to run again this year, after a life of service in recreation.

Rzeminiski said she plans to spend more time with her husband of 50 years, walking on the trails around the village.

Rzeminiski, who has lived in Sugar Grove for 11 years and served on the Park District Board since 2001, began teaching fitness classes more than 30 years ago at a Chicago south-side YMCA. She took classes in therapeutic recreation to prepare for her work in special recreation with the Evergreen Park District, where she became involved in the Special Olympics.

When she moved to Sugar Grove, she pursued her love for special recreation through volunteering for the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association before joining the Sugar Grove Park Board.

The district hired Executive Director Greg Repede, took over the maintenance of the parks from the village and added programs not available to residents before.

The agreement Repede negotiated with the Fox Valley Park District gave Sugar Grove the availability of programs and facilities they couldn’t offer at the time. Through the agreement, Sugar Grove residents are able to access Fox Valley Park District programs and facilities at the resident rate.

“A big plus were the tennis programs,” she said. “It was a win-win situation.”

Sugar Grove joins Ride in Kane

Services to begin by May 1

by Susan O’Neill
The Village Board agreed Tuesday to participate in the county-wide Ride in Kane program, in conjunction with the Sugar Grove Park District, the Sugar Grove Public Library District and the Sugar Grove Township. The group named itself the Sugar Grove Paratransit Coalition.

Participation in the program is expected to begin May 1.

Each governmental entity will provide $1,000 in funding for the first year of the agreement. The Sugar Grove Library District will review rider applications and approve them based on criteria established by the coalition.

Ride in Kane submits a bill quarterly for services. If the allotted $4,000 is used up before the end of the year, the board members of the coalition can decide not to contribute additional funding and withdraw from Ride in Kane at that time.

The intergovernmental agreement will come before the Village Board on Tuesday, Feb. 17, for its approval.

Qualifications for eligibility
• Inability to obtain a driver’s license due to age or disability
• Low income residents with no other available transportation

Riders will pay $3 for the first 10 miles of the trip and
$1.50 for each additional mile.

Rides shall be provided for the following purposes
• Work
• Health care visits
• Dialysis
• Rehabilitation
• Adult daycare
• Child daycare
• Programs provided by the members of the coalition

For further information, potential participants may contact
Village Clerk Cindy Welsch at (630) 466-4507, ext. 24.

Park District Quilters’ Guild off to great start

Participants say it fills need in village

by Susan O’Neill
The Sugar Grove Park District held its first Quilting Guild meeting in January, and expected twice as many people at its February meeting.

The Sugar Grove Library cancelled its Late Night Quilters group meetings several years ago due to lack of funding. Member Joan Perrin said that some of the quilters continued to meet at the Community House, but she felt there was still an unmet need in the community. She approached the Park District about sponsoring a group.

Jan Carroll, who moved to Sugar Grove from Peoria several years ago, has 40 years of experience quilting. Carroll was the president of the Peoria Quilters Guild and taught quilting for the Peoria Park District.

The guild meets on the second Wednesday evening of the month at the Prairie Building in Sugar Grove. The meetings include guild business, members’ show and tell and new quilting tips and techniques.

“We’re in the formation stage, but everyone seems to want a working, hands-on group, where they learn new techniques and new ideas,” Perrin said. “For new people, there will be plenty of experienced people to get them started.”

Perrin said that in addition to having varied skill levels, the participants range in age from the late 20s or early 30s to the mid-70s.

Carroll said she also wants to offer a day-long workshop each month. The workshops, which will alternate between Wednesdays and Saturdays, will typically be planned around a specific project and led by a quilter from outside the group.

February’s workshop, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 25, will feature the Disappearing Nine-Patch. The group will take apart an existing nine-patch quilt, and put it back together in a different pattern.

Prairie Shop Quilts owner Bonita Deering will lead a quilting game with prizes for the guild’s March meeting. Prairie Shop Quilts, located in Batavia, offers everything one might need for quilting and other fabric crafts, as well as classes for various techniques and projects. She said the game, Great Moments in Quilting History, should be fun, but members will also learn a few things, as well.

Carroll explained that a quilting guild is different from a quilting group in that it is more formal, with a board and bylaws and committees. She eventually hopes to have a newsletter and a committee to search for people to offer workshops.

She said the hospitality committee will be an important group, as social contact is what most quilters want.

“Quilters do most of the work on their projects at home, but it’s always fun to share what you do with others who understand it,” she said.

Sugar Grove Quilting Guild
Sponsored by Sugar Grove Park District
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
second Wednesday of each month
Prairie Building
Volunteer Park, Sugar Grove
Monthly workshops as scheduled
(630) 466-7436

February Workshop
The Disappearing Nine-Patch
Wednesday, Feb. 25
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

March Meeting
Wednesday, March 11
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Growth shifts from homes to stores

by Susan O’Neill

            With a struggling economy in the background, the village of Sugar Grove saw a shift of focus in 2008. In previous years much effort was spent planning for residential growth, but this year it was spent on bringing commercial projects into the village.
Sugar Grove is recognized
            Sugar Grove began the new year by celebrating BusinessWeek.com‘s choice of the village as the best affordable suburb in Illinois. Sugar Grove was picked as a relatively affordable community that offers the lowest crime rate, finest schools and the best quality of life for the money in the state.

            Sugar Grove learned in June that Standard & Poors upgraded the village’s bond rating from an A to an A+.

            Settler’s Ridge, Sugar Grove’s conservation development, earned a Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from the Chicago Wilderness Corporation Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its landscaping and innovative water works systems. The water works system also received the Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association Chicago Metro Chapter.
The economy and growth
            The Settler’s Ridge Subdivision was dealt a blow in April when developer Kimball Hill Homes requested bankruptcy protection. The development, which was to include 2,678 homes, was put up for sale after only 100 residences were built. Kimball Hill announced it would go out of business at year’s end.

            New home starts dropped significantly, leading the village to renegotiate annexation agreements with developers of projects in progress.

            Although residential development lagged in Sugar Grove in 2008, commercial development continued to move forward.

            “It’s been a busy year,” Village President Sean Michels said. “There has been $65 million in investment in the village.”

            Multiple commercial/office developments either opened or expanded, and many new businesses opened, ranging from two new preschools to a family practice physician and other retail outlets, locations like The Landings, Sugar Grove Center and the Capital Professional Center saw growth throughout the year.
Municipal development
            Groundbreaking for the new Sugar Grove Public Library building took place on May 3, although voters rejected a measure to increase the tax rate to increase the library’s operating expenses.

            The Sugar Grove Fire District moved nine firefighters to the Oswego Fire District station on Galena Road in July to meet response time standards in the area from the station on Route 30 and Municipal Drive.
Airport growth
            Growth is taking place at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove as well, with two companies opening new locations: one in December and another slated for 2009.
New church in village

            The Rockford Diocese created the first new Roman Catholic parish in almost 20 years in Sugar Grove this year. The St. Katharine Drexel parish holds weekend masses at the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School until a church can be built on land donated by the Jerry Rich family. The parish priest, Fr. Robert Jones, began in time to conduct Advent services on Nov. 29.

            What began several years ago as a plan to build a new separate village hall and police facility based on population projections of 60,000 plus was ultimately reduced at year’s end to the reconfiguration of the Police Department reception area for increased protection and safety of police personnel.
            Construction also began this year on the Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extension, and plans moved forward for the extension of the village’s water main out to the Kaneland Harter Road Middle School.
SG joins county program
            The Sugar Grove Village Board approved a measure to join Ride in Kane, a county-wide program to provide transportation to eligible residents in need. With participation by the Sugar Grove Township, Park District and Public Library, the village will receive $4,000 from the Regional Transportation Authority. Services will begin July 1, 2009.
Future growth
            Robert Arthur Land Company in October brought plans for an active adult community to the Village Board for its feedback. The 190-acre development would include a mix of single-family homes for active adults and rental apartments and condominiums targeting adults over 55 on land originally set aside for the Settler’s Ridge development.

            Village officials reviewed plans in November for a Walgreens store scheduled to open in 2009 at the northwest corner of Route 47 and the Galena Boulevard extension. Attorney James White said the developer, the Daly Group, LLC, hopes to attract some big-box stores to the development.

            Michels said there are a couple of other smaller retailers, including an auto service center and a small hardware store that the village is talking to for possible location in the Prairie Grove Commons, south of Galena Boulevard and west of Route 47.

            The village hopes to take advantage of potential infrastructure funding that may be available in 2009 through the new federal administration’s stimulus package. Village staff submitted two infrastructure projects to the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus for the Harter Road water main extension and the Municipal Drive extension from Galena Boulevard to Wheeler Road.

            Michels said the village is still working on a full interchange at I-88 and Route 47. There is currently a feasibility study underway for the interchange and that is going well, he said.

            According to Michels, when the construction market begins to pick up again, Sugar Grove should be in a good position to take advantage of it with the essential infrastructure in place.

Park District plans for future

by Susan O’Neill

            Local residents surveyed by the Sugar Grove Park District said that biking and walking trails are the recreational facilities most important to them.

            The Park District Board hired an outside firm, Leisure Vision, to find out what residents wanted from their park district and what recreational opportunities they value. Answers from the 301 survey respondents, input from community members and staff in a number of focus groups, as well as an independent evaluation of the condition of the parks will be used to create a Park District Master Plan.

            In addition to the biking and walking trails, an indoor fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, golf course and driving range and playgrounds were among the most-desired recreation facilities. Adult fitness and youth sports programs, swimming and golf lessons, and leagues and special events were the programs chosen most important.

            According to Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede, the plan could be completed during the first quarter of 2009. However, that doesn’t mean the Park District will be taking on any major projects in the near term.

            “The problem we’re having is the same problem everyone else is having, enough money to pay for everything,” Repede said.

            The Park District’s tax rate is 14 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, which Repede said is one-third to one-fourth the size of every other park district in Kane County.

            “We don’t generate tax dollars for capital improvement, but we do the best we can by working with the School District and the Community House,” Repede said. “Somewhere down the road, there is a need for a community center. But this isn’t the time to talk about a referendum.”

            Although the Sugar Grove Park District does not have the resources to provide these types of facilities for its residents, an agreement with the Fox Valley Park District allows Sugar Grove residents to use the Fox Valley facilities at the resident rate, a substantial savings. Nearly 70 percent of the people who answered the survey said this agreement is important to them.

            Park District Board President Kevin Johnson said the agreement with the Fox Valley District has worked out quite well. It allows Sugar Grove residents to access activities and facilities that Sugar Grove doesn’t have. Golfers have access to several golf courses within the Fox Valley District. Fitness enthusiasts have access to the Vaughan Athletic Center, with its many activities and equipment, including several swimming pools.

            Repede said the Sugar Grove Park District is limited in its funding, but he and the board members are always looking to expand programs in growth areas wherever possible.

            “Community growth is at a standstill,” Repede said. “Everyone is waiting for the housing market to turn around. Right now we’re in a holding pattern, but we will continue to look for cooperative things to meet the needs.”

            Johnson said they should have a better idea by the end of spring what the plan for the coming years will be. He said they have to determine what people want and what the population will support.