Sharon Knitter: Candidate Profile

Oak Brook Park Board

  • Sharon Knitter, running for Oak Brook Park Board

    Sharon Knitter, running for Oak Brook Park Board

Updated 3/10/2015 5:34 PM

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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City: Oak Brook

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought:

Oak Brook Park Board

Age: 56

Family: Husband - Richard

Occupation: Mobile Technology

Education: BS in Marketing Graduate Work in Business

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Civic involvement: Infant Welfare Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer Oak Brook Park District Board President Village of Oak Brook - Various Committees Oak Brook Park District Foundation President

Elected offices held: President of the Oak Brook Park District Commissioners

Questions & Answers

What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?

The best way to look at a Park District and its programs is in its totality. It is important to offer a wide variety of programs and services for the community. We are constantly reviewing programs and refining them for our audience.

Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.

No. I would say that the Park District doesn't "need" to acquire any open space. We evaluate open spaces that are available and determine if acquiring would be the best opportunity.

Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them? Or, should they wait until the economy improves?

We are currently putting outdoor fitness equipment such as elliptical machines at our outlying playgrounds. Adults can now workout while they are watching their kids play. I think it is important to encourage all ages to spend time outside every day. As we develop the budget each year, we look to adding new programs. Additionally, we look for grants to supplement our own budget.


Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency?

Yes. We are already working with the Village of Oak Brook to share resources when we can. This includes storage facilities, maintenance work and offering discounts for village employees including Police and Fire for our programs. We have grown and solidified our cooperation with the Public Works Department of the Village of Oak Brook.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

When I joined the Board 6 years ago, there was no long range plan or capital spending and maintenance plan. Spearheading these critical strategic endeavors provided great direction for staff and board members alike. I Established the Oak Brook Park District Foundation which has supported the OBPD in over $60,000 of funding to park district programming and events. - Funded the secure hallway for our youth programming via the Cori Sikich Foundation. - presented a balanced budget to the residents since 2011 - no tax increases presented to the residents since I've been in office. - formed new relationships with the community including both large and small businesses, our neighbors and the Village. Pink 5k - 2011 partnered with Susan G Komen. Approximately 200+ participants. Donated $2,250. - 2012 partnered with Adventist Hospital. 600+ participants. Donated $6,000 to the Open Arms Breast Cancer Outreach Fund via Hinsdale Hospital Foundation. This helped fund 40 mammograms to women over the age of 40 specifically in DuPage County that had no insurance or could not afford a mammogram. - 2013. Same partner. 1000 participants. Donated $10,000 to same cause. - 2014. Same partner. 1,178 participants. Donated $11,000 to same cause. Tennis Center. When I joined the Board, the Tennis Center was losing money and members. Through hiring great staff and focused renovations, it is a revenue producing facility.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

The Oak Brook Park District is a great asset to Oak Brook. Over the past 6 years, I've been able to bring business acumen and discipline to the Park District and I expect that to continue in the future. In my next term, I would like to concentrate on providing more opportunities, services and programs for all ages to embrace activity and the out of doors. Only 25% of kids spend an hour outdoors daily. This was 75% just a generation ago. I would like the Park District to be pivotal in turning this around not only for kids but for all ages.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Bill Gates. I admire that he uses his resources to help people develop ways in which to help themselves.

What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

Hard work and Perseverance are the keys to success.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

None. I think that everything is a learning opportunity and each experience and how we deal with them build upon each other.

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

I've always loved reading and researching things. Throughout my life it has allowed me to be transported into different worlds and have empathy for others.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be Kind.