“I agree that we really don’t need another golf course. But the people of the Town of Fort Sheridan (subdivision within Highland Park) were promised a golf course. Many people bought because we were going to do a golf course.” – Elaine Waxman
The Park District of Highland Park board has been directionless for some time, often behaving like they are from another planet rather than our neighbors who we elected to manage a respected, award winning and program-rich parks and recreation program.
Most recently, townsfolk with pitchforks and torches (figuratively speaking) marched on the Park District regarding inappropriate employment practices resulting in three board members, including the President of the Board who was also the representative to the Fort Sheridan Master Plan Advisory Committee, resigning their positions. An additional petition has called for Commissioner Waxman to resign as well. This public humiliation was preceded by the Lake Front debacle, a referendum which was hastily pulled from the ballot in 2008, amidst obvious lack of support and a crumbling economy prompted the Parks Board to back off.
Today the Park District of Highland Park operates Sunset Ridge golf course which most recently posted losses of over $200,000, continuing an unending series of year after year losses approaching $1,000,000. Soon, the Park District will inherit and probably close the Highland Park Country Club golf course, now owned by the City. This facility lost over $600,000 this past year also compounding year after year losses. If you do the math, the $800,000 2009 combined Highland Park golf course losses cost the 35,000 people in Highland Park about $23 everytime somebody tee’d up to play golf in Highland Park. And Elaine Waxman thinks that another money-losing golf course should be built at Fort Sheridan. Fuzzy, fuzzy thinking.
This final meeting of the Advisory Committee, after over a year of meetings, was Commissioner Waxman’s first meeting. You cannot help but appreciate her concern and interest in what a small minority in a Highland Park subdivision near Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve think. But there is no indication that Commissioner Waxman’s position represented the preference of the Board of the Park District of Highland Park. In the end, I just have to wonder if in voting the way she did she was representing the interests of the City of Highland Park that elected her or that of her small network of friends and acquaintances living near Fort Sheridan?