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H-F Park Board dissolves its advisory committee

Every good effort comes to an end. The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Advisory Committee is one such example.

At its meeting Feb. 21, park commissioners agreed to dissolve the committee. It was a sad vote for Debbie Dennison and Dallas Collins who both served on the committee before taking seats on the park board.

Mike Gianatasio, superintendent of recreation, tried to restructure the committee in 2022. He put a call out to committee members to learn who was interested in continuing. Four volunteers said they were. He got three new members.

But for the kickoff meeting of the newly consolidated team, only four members were available. When he offered a park tour in September, only two members were present, and only one offered written feedback. The October meeting was cancelled because only one member was available.

In January, Gianatasio said he used weekly social media and e-blasts to reach out for new members. Two people stepped forward but only one current member joined in. 

“We’ve been talking about this for a while, and there’s been steady declines since 2010 and that brings us to where we are today,” Gianatasio said. “It was viable in the past, but participation has waned. I think it may be time to say PDAC has expended its useful life and is no longer viable, and we can reallocate staff resources in other areas.

“Time is people’s most valuable commodity and if people are not choosing to spend their time with us in this capacity, that’s OK. Those same people may be participating with the park district in different capacities,” he told commissioners as he urged them to agree to dissolve the Park District Advisory Committee. 

“It’s one of my passions,” Dennison said hoping community members would give their time elsewhere. “We know that good has come out in the past from PDAC.”

She told Gianatoasio: “Thanks for giving it that good try.”

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