Sycamore will promote park plan with video

SYCAMORE – Sycamore Park District officials are in the process of producing a video that will explain the details of the Vision 2020 plan, which seeks to add improvements such as a community center to land purchased earlier this year.

DeKalb-based OC ImageWorks is producing the video. Park officials hope to have it ready within the next month.

The video, which includes board members giving presentations about different aspects of the plan, will be shown to community groups including service organizations and clubs, Dan Gibble, executive director of the park district, said.

Gibble said the video would make it easier for park board members to get the message out without worrying about finding time in their schedules to give presentations or announcing special meetings to comply with the open meetings act.

"People's schedules are so sporadic," he said. "It's hard to get everybody in the room at once."

Some aspects of the Vision 2020 plan already are underway. The district already has applied for a state grant to fund construction of the 22,400-square-foot community center, which will include a gym, fitness space, multipurpose rooms and office space.

Other Vision 2020 plans include creating two to three miles of pedestrian trails to connect existing trails, adding a dog park, replacing the 26-year-old golf course irrigation system and building a zero-depth aquatic play area, or "splash pad," for children.

Park board members likely will vote in the coming months to place a property-tax increase referendum on the November ballot, asking voters if they support a rate increase of 18 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value.

The increased property-tax revenue would allow the park district to issue $8 million in bonds to pay for the new amenities. Of the projects, the 22,400-square-foot community center is projected to cost the most at $6.2 million.

An 18-cent tax rate increase would add about $82 a year, almost $7 a month, to the tax bill of the owner of a $154,000 home who claims the homestead exemption. The average Sycamore home is assessed at about $154,000, officials said.

The $5,000 cost to make the video is coming out of the park district's marketing budget, Gibble said, and it will be featured on the park district's website when it is complete.

The board plans to send invitation letters to local service clubs within the next few weeks asking them if they would be interested in viewing the video, Gibble said.

Gibble said the video is one way park district officials are being transparent about their Vision 2020 plan.

"The best way to get the message out is to do a video," he said.

Referendum question

In the coming months, Sycamore park board members are expected to vote to place a referendum asking voters to approve a property tax rate increase of 18 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value in order to issue $8 million in bonds.

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