As we say farewell to 2020, we look back at the COVID-19 pandemic's dramatic impact on the Wilmette Park District and our community.
Since March, our programming and operations have been altered in ways we couldn't have imagined. Every step of the way, we've done our best to communicate with you, whether with a potential exposure update or notification of changes in programs or facility availability. The Wilmette Park District staff deserves great credit for their fearlessness in dealing with all aspects related to the pandemic, showing great flexibility and creative thinking as they worked with ever-changing restrictions.
Obviously, we had to tighten our belt at the Park District due to the tough economic circumstances. We cut back on capital expenditures and reduced operating expenses in many ways, most unfortunately including significant staff reductions. Remarkably, due to careful stewardship, the Wilmette Park District's finances remain largely in balance. Our taxpayers will be pleased to know that our tax levy assessed for 2020 (to be collected in 2021) is 8.97% less than the 2019 levy.
Our 2021 budget allocates funds to initiate or continue critical projects, such as shoreline protection, Gillson Park improvements and Community Playfields enhancements. Once the Village Stormwater Improvement work is complete in Hibbard Park this year, we will re-imagine the park's design and amenities with your input. Also, work has begun on construction of a continuous cart path at the Wilmette Golf Course to allow for all-weather cart use and additional cart and green fee revenue. This project is structured to be self-funding.
We're optimistic about 2021. Thank you for your support and understanding as we continue to navigate the challenges of this pandemic. We wish everyone a happy, healthy new year.
- Gordon Anderson
Board of Park Commissioners