Pleasant Dale Park Board leader takes on challenges
In addition to overseeing improvements to some of the facilities like at Savoy Park, Kevin Burke is hoping to have a more transparent tenure. | Jon Langham—for Sun-Times Media
BEST KNOWN AS: president, Pleasant Dale Park Board
HOME TOWN: La Grange
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:23AM
BURR RIDGE — Kevin Burke knew he had a big job in front of him when he accepted a spot on the often-cantankerous Pleasant Dale Park Board.
Not only was the board ripe with politics, it also was faced with a facility that was bleeding money.
But Burke, a 12-year resident of the park district, saw there was work to be done. After being appointed three years ago to fill a vacant spot between elections, he was elected to a six-year term in 2010 and became president in 2011.
“It was a unanimous vote to put The Chalet up for sale,” Burke said of the first major change made under his leadership.
The recreation center, which was losing money at a rate of $15,000 a month, was shuttered in April and remains on the market.
Burke said the current board is a talented group that works well together.
“It is a pleasure to work with the board we have now,” he said.
The board backed the recent improvements to Savoy Park on 79th Street.
Burr Ridge Village Board Trustee John Manieri said there was a need for a shade structure at the park, which was built several years ago.
“The moms and the grandparents were in the direct sun,” Manieri said. Now, there’s a shady place to rest while children enjoy the park’s new swings or grab a sip from the new drinking fountain.
The improvements were paid for with impact fees, at no cost to the park district.
“I think I have a lot to bring to the table,” said Burke, whose own daughters, ages 7 and 9, enjoy the park district’s programs.
Burke’s dreams for the park district include a community pool, a park district golf outing at the Flagg Creek course and improvements to the Vial House that might allow it to be used for showers and other events.
In the meantime, he’s working with the park district and its communities to make the most of the facilities they have.
“A park district is part of a healthy community,” he said. “I want to see more involvement.”
He’s hoping to have plenty of time, even after his six-year term is up, to accomplish all of these goals.
There is much to be done, Burke said, and he’s willing to keep working for as long as it takes.