ELECTION 2019 QUESTIONNAIRES | Champaign Park District board: Tim McMahon

ELECTION 2019 QUESTIONNAIRES | Champaign Park District board: Tim McMahon

1. What prompted you to run for a term on the board?

"In 2013, I was motivated to serve on the board for two primary reasons: to work in, for and with the community in a field with which I had familiarity and a passion, and to give my time specifically to programs and facilities with which my two children, Madeline and Luke, were involved.

"I am seeking re-election to continue to serve the community and ensure that Champaign Park District continues to assist in making our community a better place to live, through active and passive sports, exercise, the arts, open green space and other programs."

2. What's the single Champaign park you're fondest of — and why that one?

"That seems like a loaded question, similar to 'which one is your favorite child?' However, if I had to choose a park, it would be Hessel Park, with pre-school memories of playing on the old fire truck, grade school memories of field trips, high school memories of football practice and adult memories of family reunions at the Pavilion.

"It has been a vibrant part of this community for decades, and will always be my 'favorite child.'

"One of my primary joys of serving on the board comes from watching other families, every single day, making their life-long memories in parks around the city."

3. How often, in the average non-winter month, do you personally take advantage of the city's parks?

"I am fortunate to live near Robeson Meadows West and Detention parks, with approximately two miles of trails. As both a runner and a dog walker, I am generally out at least twice a day on one trail or another in the district.

"I have competed in some of the district's running events, and hope to play in the over-55 softball league this summer.

"My wife, Molly, plays tennis weekly at the Dodds or Lindsay tennis facilities."

4. Which park, or area in town, deserves more attention than it's gotten from the park district?

"In an interview several years ago I mentioned Heritage and Spalding as parks deserving of attention. Happily, we are nearing completion of a $4 million joint venture with the Unit 4 School District to upgrade Spalding, with a new baseball field, walking paths, playground and lights.

"As for Heritage, we are just beginning work on a multi-phase plan to add walking paths, improve the water frontage and provide a future connection to Kaufman Lake.

"Near I-74, on Market Street, construction plans are being finalized on a multi-use recreational and instructional building, thanks to a generous contribution by the Martens family.

"I believe the district staff has done a great job of developing a five-year capital plan which is continually evaluated and updated based on community input and available resources."

5. How can Champaign capitalize on grant opportunities or other nontraditional funding sources?

"To my mind, the district staff has, for years, been committed to expanding its revenue base in as diverse a manner as possible.

"In addition to government grants already awarded — the fruits of which should be headed our way from Springfield soon — and those being worked on, we have, as in the case of the Martens project, been successful in combining a $400,000 government grant with donations from private citizens and businesses, and in partnership with other agencies — in this case, the Boys and Girls Club.

"The key to ongoing stability in an era of tightening resources will always be the successful leveraging of government, private agency and private individual funds."

6. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if re-elected?

"To continue operating the district in a fiscally responsible manner, which to me includes no tax increases.

"To maintain consistency and high-quality services at all parks, regardless of location.

"To work to add open space and additional recreational programs to the city at large."

7. What, to you, is the Champaign Park District's single greatest strength?

"As with any endeavor, public or private, the greatest strength — or weakness — of any organization is its people. In the case of the Champaign district, it has been blessed for decades by extraordinarily dedicated and accomplished staff and, more Importantly, by a citizenry which both loves and uses its parks all across the city.

"We are fortunate, indeed, to have these incredible assets for those who call Champaign home."

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