QUINCY — Discussions about a new park in the southeast portion of Quincy, a boat dock in Clat Adams Park and rules for food trucks in city parks were held Thursday during the Quincy Park District’s annual planning session.
Park Board commissioners talked for 5 1/2 hours about a myriad of topics. No votes were taken, but the meeting “gives us a map, gives us a direction,” president Roger Leenerts said.
A proposed capital projects list was reviewed. The board eventually settled on 18 projects that will have the Park District issue $1.041 million in general obligation bonds.
“We’ll be able to maintain or reduce the tax rate that the district charges,” Leenerts said. “There aren’t any great big projects on the list. There’s another $100,000 that was due on (the Park District’s administrative office on Bonansinga Drive) that is no longer due after December. We’ve met all of our obligations with pension payments.”
Most of the requests are for maintaining roads, replacing equipment or repairing buildings. A parking lot addition at Lincoln Park for $230,000, the resurfacing of roads in Bob Bangert Park for $185,000 and Parker Heights Park for $100,000, and the replacement of the shelter at Madison Park for $100,000 were the four biggest ticket items.
Other main points of discussion during Thursday’s meeting were:
• Future location of park in southeast Quincy. A community survey in 2017 shows a park in southeast Quincy is one of the top 10 requests made by citizens. Options considered were to improve Westview Park at 30th and Harrison, enter a partnership with John Wood Community College to build on the 48th and Harrison campus, and the possible acquisition of land from an unnamed private landowner.
“We basically said we’re not going to change Westview Park,” Leenerts said. “It’s a big open green grass area. So we’ve given the staff direction to have conversations with this private landowner. They also can talk with John Wood to see what options there are for that.”
• Art Keller Marina. Leenerts said the Park Board remains in a “holding pattern” after recently giving an unnamed interested party until Sept. 28 to prepare a proposal to operate the facility on Quinsippi Island. A proposal won’t be considered by the Park Board (if one is submitted) until its Oct. 14 meeting. Plans still call for the lessee to assume management in April 2022.
• Riverfront Improvements. More than $2 million in improvements in six riverfront parks were noted. “There has been an accusation that the Park District has not participated in riverfront development,” Leenerts said. “That list details what those items were.”
Leenerts said Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning for the city of Quincy, informed commissioners the city is interested in pursuing a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for a transient boat dock.
“It would be for somebody who owns a recreational boat,” Leenerts said. “You could tie (the boat) up near a riverfront area and leave your boat. For instance, you could go have lunch and drinks at a local establishment.”
A proposal from Klingner and Associates for a “Quincy Riverfront Courtesy Dock” estimated the project cost to be $945,076. If the city receives the grant, Leenerts didn’t know how the balance of the project would be paid for.
“The idea behind the grant is excellent,” he said. “We do not, as a Park District, have anything budgeted for something like that for the next year. That resolution will be on the agenda for our (Aug. 12) meeting, and we will take a formal vote on that as a board to say, ‘Here’s our resolution on this topic.’”
• Potential sale of Parker Heights property: The Knapheide Manufacturing Co. approached the Park District in 2016 about a 5.5-acre tract in the northeast portion of Parker Heights Park and made an irrevocable pledge of $100,000 to buy it. However, the Park Board voted in April 2018 not to support a resolution to put the issue before voters.
“We were asked to revisit that (issue),” Leenerts said. “The board has said to staff, ‘We are going to give you permission to go ahead and continue the conversation. Let’s see where we’re at, and then we will make a decision.”
• Westview Golf Course. Leenerts said the course is doing well financially.
“They’re having a great year,” he said. “People want to get outside, and the weather’s been on our side. So things are going well. That was really needed after a couple of rough years.”
The replacement of the irrigation system at Westview has been discussed briefly at previous Park Board meetings. The projected cost is at least $2 million.
“We had a very good discussion on that,” Leenerts said. “There’s a difference of opinions on what to do. Do you create a big project like this and go to the public to see what they think? Do you just go ahead and do it? If you have a 10-year-old car, and you really don’t have any repairs on it but you know you’re going to need to replace it, do you wait until you actually need to have repairs?
“Nothing’s gonna happen on that in next year, though we did talk about ways to set aside money every year or possibly even doing sections of the course as (the irrigation system) fails over time. There’s no problem with the irrigation at Westview except it’s old.”
• Food truck ordinance. Leenerts said commissioners agreed a policy needs to be in place regarding the possibility and process of food trucks operating on park grounds. “This year is pretty much behind us,” he said. “A couple of commissioners will work with the potential food truck vendors in the area, get their input and work with staff to put a policy together so we’re all on the same page for next year.”
• Indoor/outdoor shooting range. Leenerts said one of the commissioners brought information to the board about building a shooting range. Leenerts said the board was “glad to have the information” and appreciated the out-of-the-box thinking for programming for the district. However, “it’s not something we’re going to look at right now,” he said.
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