The , , , and all met Tuesday night in their second intergovernmental meeting of the year to discuss updates, bike trails and routes and the Sister Cities program.
Updates from Each Group
District Administrator for the Village of Oswego Steven Jones brought up the strategic plan the Village spent several months putting together with the goal to add value to Oswego and make it a better place. Jones said he would share the plan with each taxing body and encouraged them to send plans of similar nature to him, so the groups could work in collaboration.
Rich Zielke, executive director of the Oswegoland Park District, said the park district has had a lot of success with its Road Warriors program with 174 participants, its Limelight Theatre classes and production in which there were 200 participants and over 800 who saw the production and the new up by Prairie Point. Zielke also said the food pantry gardens produced 1500 pounds of produce this year.
Over at School District 308, school board president Bill Walsh said the schools had been preparing for the first day of school on August 22. He acknowledged the currently in the budget and said, “We have big budgets, big issues and big challenges, but we have a good team in place.” Right now the schools are focused on becoming a “world class school system” to provide the best educational experience possible.
Library Director Sarah Skilton said that the Summer Reading Program had over 4,000 summer readers and there have been over a million checkouts at the library this year.
Tom Yagley from the Oswego Township discussed the “Yellow Dot” program. The program has drivers put a yellow dot in their rear window, signifying that in their glove compartment they have a sheet detailing all their medical information in case of an accident. “[Medical personnel] don’t know anything about the person, so getting them some information can make a difference if whether they survive or not,” Yagley said.
Bike Trails and Safe Routes
Village President Brian LeClercq said that some residents are upset because their school bus routes got cut. “We want to make sure we have safe routes for our school children. But we don’t want to end there. People use the trails to get to work, for recreational purposes. It’s time to work together on the bike trail issue.”
Most of the developments in Oswego have trails inside them, but they do not connect. The decision to connect the existing trails and add new trails has created some confusion as to which taxing body in Oswego will be .
LeClercq suggested a three-way approach, with the Village focusing on land acquisition, the Schools on getting the trails put into place and the Park District on the maintenance and upkeep of the trails. “When more than one agency works together there are some grants out there that are available,” said LeClercq.
“It’s usually easier to get those if we work together and collaborate.”
Bill Walsh said the School District is looking at the issue of busing as a continuous development, and they have been making some schools walking schools this year due to their distance and the funding cut. “The thought process has changed in getting them to school,” he said.
Bob Mattingly, Park Board President, said the Park District would of course be willing to work with the other two agencies. “The biggest problem is identifying where we need the trails. And then funding them,” he said.
Walsh said they needed to look at what qualifies as hazardous. “The bottom line is we need to work with both agencies to insure we have a good strategic plan for the future. It’s important to intermesh. If there is funding that needs to be presented to build safe walking paths, it is an investment for years to come.”
The agencies agreed to discuss the matters more with their individual staffs to evaluate what they could contribute and where their capabilities lie.
Sister Cities Program
The Sister Cities program brings two countries together to learn more about one another’s culture, history and engage its residents. Oswego has been pursuing the idea to align with one of their goals, said Jones, to make Oswego a better place.
LeClercq said the Village has been hearing a lot about West Chicago’s experience with Sister Cities, where they partnered up with a town in Germany about 12 years ago.
“The point is, adding depth to the community,” said LeClercq. “It’s what we think about our community, where we feel connected. It’s one more opportunity to offer our residents for them to get engaged with fellow members of community and perhaps international groups.”
LeClercq said he had been thinking of Germany, especially as the schools have a German language program, but was open to other suggestions. However, the Village does not want to be the only agency involved in the Sister Cities program.
“There are many possibilities for a school district to learn and share about Germany or another country through the program,” said Walsh.
The idea has only been presented thus far and discussions will continue.