Economic Vitality: With a strong financial position, the District chose to keep taxes level for six years while adding new amenities and maintaining services. Almost 54% of revenues are non-tax revenue, far above the national average. Glenview is one of only nine park districts in Illinois with a Aaa bond rating. Our capital replacement program is an innovative model, setting aside funds annually to fully cover the replacement of $21M of assets prior to the end of their useful life.
Partnerships: The District enjoys partnerships with the Village, school districts, sports organizations and 501(c)(3) foundations, contributing over $5,568,112 in the last four years towards acquisitions, enhancements, scholarships and more. The most impactful partnership is with the Village of Glenview, made possible by a state-legislative action creating a one-of-a-kind TIF, generating an additional $20.6M revenue to the District.
Environmental/Historic Stewardship: Glenview demonstrates exceptional stewardship by preserving historical sites (Wagner Farm, The Grove, a WWII Chapel), protecting the environment with wetland, prairie and woodland restoration and efficient energy use (propane vehicles, LED lighting, green roofs, geothermal system, no-idling policy, buying green energy).
Public support is reflected through participation and satisfaction levels. Residents rate the district 8.3 out of 10, far above the state level of 7.2. In a community of 59,000, there were 147,000 registrations and over 1.6 million visits to facilities and special events in 2017-2018, excluding passive recreation.
At a time of increasing concern about taxes, public support for the Park District was evident with the successful $17 million-dollar referendum (64.56% yes vote) for a new indoor ice center, nature center enhancements, safety and pedestrian improvements and land acquisition.
Glenview’s commitment to citizen involvement is demonstrated through its use of surveys, forums, public meetings and citizen task forces that shaped the scope of projects. Citizens provided input for a needs assessment, Strategic Plan, Comprehensive Master Plan, Referendum and playground renovations. The District also benefits greatly from citizen involvement with over 17,000 volunteer hours annually.
Glenview works diligently to create opportunities for staff engagement with employee recognition being a key factor. Innovative programs were developed by cross functional teams of staff members: PEAK (recognition for demonstrating above and beyond Partnerships, Excellence, Accomplishments, Kindness) and IMPACT (recognition for successfully implementing an innovative idea to develop a new or improved process, program, product or service). Staff members engage by submitting nominations for co-workers.
Safety and Loss Control measurements are valuable for assuring a safe environment for employees and program participants. Using Park District Risk Management Agency checklists, an independent review team evaluates compliance with best practices in safety protocols, required documentation and loss control. Each item is scored based on onsite observations, visual review of required documentation, and examination of claim loss data. The score is the number of points awarded and can be benchmarked against other Illinois Park Districts. The District received a score of 98.21 out of 100 to achieve PDRMA accreditation, reflecting exceptional safety practices.
Measuring Progress on Strategic Plan initiatives assures the District and community that we’re addressing their most important issues. Through the use of Achieve-It software, staff stays focused and tracks progress on achieving tasks and objectives, making this plan a living document, with key performance indicators measuring results against set targets. Board members receive progress updates at least annually.
Tracking Employee Satisfaction is a critical component to being an Employer of Choice and gauging employee engagement. On-line confidential surveys are sent biennially to full- and part-time employees. Results are compiled by the HR department and reported to senior management for discussion and appropriate action. Employee satisfaction was most recently rated at 76.50%.
Development of the Kennicott Girls Club, a new program blending local Kennicott family history (a Glenview family of Smithsonian- recognized 19th century naturalists) with STEM principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The goal of the program is to empower today’s girls to try new things and develop confidence while examining the life of pioneer women and their early involvement with STEM principles. Hands-on activities include cabin building, clothes dyeing, soap making, candle making, needle crafts, nature study and history-based science experiments.
The District implemented a fitness center mobile app that puts class descriptions, schedules, instructors, locations and real-time cancellations for the 120+ weekly group exercise programs at your fingertips. Sorting capabilities by area of interest, location, instructor or class make it easy to use and has been well-received by customers.
The District implemented a new efficient and cost-effective process through a new pallet racking system and using 225-gallon totes in place of 5-gallon totes. This makes the storage and mixing of field-lining paint less labor intensive and reduces paint waste and the number of paint deliveries per year. The 225-gallon tote sits on a pallet rack above the paint-mixing hopper to reduce both the physical demand on maintenance staff and the risks of injury associated with the previous method of lifting 5-gallon paint pails into the mixing hopper multiple times a day.
Through its Leisureship program, Glenview provides financial assistance to low-income families (336 registrations in 2016, 349 in 2017, 386 in 2018). In 2016, the Glenview Park Foundation expanded funding by committing 10% of their annual revenues to this cause.
Glenview embraces inclusivity by partnering with NSSED to utilize Wagner Farm as a living classroom for children with disabilities. Through its NSSRA partner and inclusion companions, participants with disabilities enjoy recreational activities (914 registrations in 2016, 821 in 2017, 966 in 2018). Glenview provides free space for Perk Center, a refreshment bar, providing work experience for individuals with disabilities and building social skills.
Glenview enacted policy and training to assure inclusivity for the transgender population, both as staff and program participants.
Glenview installed outdoor fitness equipment along the Gallery Park walking path to provide a free opportunity to enhance outdoor fitness options. Equipment pieces were selected to particularly encourage use by seniors. In addition, the fitness center offers 120+ group exercise classes indoors each week, special annual events like the Triathlon and partners with the local hospital system to provide health screenings, classes on nutrition, disease prevention and control, and the only local boxing and fitness program for Parkinson’s. For the safety of participants and spectators, seven outdoor AED units were installed at highly used sports fields. The District also promotes the health and wellness of its employees through wellness screenings and conducting fun-filled fitness challenges for staff members.
The Glenview Park District is a champion for open space, restoration and environmental education. Sixty-five acres of land were added as dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves and 20 acres of Nature Preserve buffer. A grant was also secured to acquire an additional 3 acres for restoration to natural area.
Restoration of woodlands, wetlands and prairie was conducted. Invasive species were removed manually through use prescribed burning, native plant and seed installation and seed collection and propagation. The District diligently monitors and manages pest species, such as the Emerald Ash Borer and a plan was developed to replace dead and diseased trees. The District offers hundreds of environmental education programs for school groups, scouts, camps and families.
Glenview faced enormous change in the last three years with retirements of the Executive Director, three of four division superintendents and three long-time facility managers, representing nearly 230 years of institutional knowledge. Simultaneously, the District undertook major initiatives: a comprehensive master plan, new three-year strategic plan, $17M referendum, self-imposed tax freeze and achieving IPRA Distinguished Agency certification, while orienting the new leadership to the community and the District’s culture, board, staff and operations.
Building trust and support among staff with the new leadership and the District’s long-term direction was crucial. To address these challenges, the District hired only highly-seasoned recreation professionals to fill the top leadership positions so they were able to hit the ground running. Workshops on change were conducted with all full-time staff. Full-time staff meetings were increased to keep everyone informed, build on the concepts from the change management workshops and give front-line staff more exposure to the new leadership. Cross-functional teams and new employee recognition programs that were aligned with the District’s values were instituted. Board and community input provided direction. Consultants with proven expertise in park district operations were used to assist with the major projects. All initiatives were achieved and staff engagement improved.