September 22, 2019

 

Tom Swolgaard

Candidate for BIMP&RD Commissioner, Position 3

 

Response to Quality Bainbridge Questions

 

 

1.  What interests inspired you to run for a position as a commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Board?

 

I am passionate about parks and recreation. I ran for BIMR&PD commission to further my desire to give our community my time, talents and expertise as a way to pay back for all of the great activities my family has enjoyed using our parks. Also to further develop programs and facilities for future generations. All three generations of us love hiking and biking the trails, playing sports, and going to cultural events. We love to sit on the beach at Fay Bainbridge. My children and grandchildren have learned to swim at our aquatic center. They’ve played soccer, baseball, crewed, sailed and more. As an outdoor enthusiast, I am committed to preserving open space, creating active recreation opportunities, and developing cultural programs. Simply put, I love our parks.

 

2.  Describe your relevant previous experiences that prepare you for the board role.

 

I am presently a park district commissioner holding position 3 and have many years of experience serving as a park steward.   I am very familiar with park district operations, policies, procedures and have enjoyed every trail and park property.  I have served on all the District’s committees and in all Board leadership positions.  I helped lead the charge to convert our park district from a taxing district to a Metropolitan Park and Recreation District with a stable source of funding. I have been involved in writing many of the District’s policies and comprehensive plan. I have been involved with all of the recent upgrades/ renovations to our parks. I am an architect by profession, committed to protection of our environment and reduction of our carbon footprint.  

3.     What skills, training, resources, and expertise will you bring to the Board?

 

I am open minded and am willing and eager to listen to suggestions and criticism.  I try to meet the public’s requests for park and program improvements while balancing these requests with our allotted funds and staff availability.  

I was an architectural project manager in charge of several high profile projects prior to starting my personal practice.  As project manager I was responsible for client relations, millions of dollars in fees, coordination of a project staff of 10-30 architects and interior designers plus several consultants. I have attended many management training courses. I feel I have a strong understanding of how to sort ideas, desires, code issues and transform these into design, permitting, construction and a successful cost management. This has been very useful as a commissioner while addressing park district issues that arise and planning for the future.

I also respect that I am a representative of the members of our community and will continue to work for you.

 

4.  What are the most important challenges/projects facing the Park and Recreation District in the next few years?

 

Several come to mind:

1.  Climate change.

2.  The effects of climate change on our open spaces and forests.

3.  Addressing the needs of our aging infrastructure with the funds and staff we have available.

4.  Creating new trails to connect more of our parks and safe paths to schools

5.  Coordination with COBI to address E-bike paths and non-motorized issues.

6.  Creation of new facilities such as restrooms and tennis courts.

7.  Possible replacement of Ray Williams Pool.

8.  Possible development at Sakai Park.

 

5.    What can and should the Park District do to reduce its carbon footprint and prepare for climate change?

 

There are several things the park district can do:

1.    Eliminate as much plastic usage as possible.

2.    Further increase recycling efforts.

3.    Construct trail tread with sustainable materials.

4.    Continue replacement of lighting with LED lamps.

5.    Further reduce dependence on propane to heat the Aquatic Center by installing more solar panels.

6.    Evaluate other facilities to determine if solar panels are viable.

7.    Use more battery powered tools verses gasoline powered.

8.    Evaluate energy consumption of all facilities and develop a strategy to improve energy efficiency.