Funding sources for irrigation at Westview discussed, but referendum for tax increase unlikely

Westview Hole 16

Golfers walk toward the 16th tee box at Westview Golf Course in June 2021. | File photo by J. Robert Gough

QUINCY — The finance committee for the Quincy Park Board met Wednesday night to discuss how to come up with $2.5 million and $3 million to pay for a new irrigation system at Westview Golf Course.

John Frankenhoff, chairman of the finance committee, said commissioners are considering many options. He doesn’t believe a referendum is necessary.

“If you had asked me several months ago, I probably was more inclined to say that we may need to consider a referendum for the tax increase,” he said after Wednesday’s Park Board meeting at the administrative office, 1231 Bonansinga Drive.

“Looking at the numbers now, I think that’s very unlikely. I think we can do it within our bonding limit. With the money we already have in hand, our cash reserves are healthy. So I don’t think a public referendum is going to be needed. That’s good, because I skeptical whether that would fly.”

Rome Frericks, executive director of the Park District, and David Morgan, director of golf, met in February with representatives with EC Design Group, a West Des Moines, Iowa, company that specializes in comprehensive golf and commercial irrigation design. They are meeting Thursday with representatives from Hunter Irrigation, a Houston manufacturer.

Funding could come from fee increases, tax money or private dollars

Frankenhoff said the committee is considering all options to come up with the money to pay for the irrigation.

“First, there could be Westview fee increases,” he said. “Whether you can do that and come up with $2 million or $3 million is a big leap. Second would be tax money in some form, whether that’s using our corporate funds or bonds or whatever, but the taxpayers would probably have to cover the bulk of it. Then the third category is private dollars or grants, whether there’s a fundraiser or group that wants to do a fundraiser. I don’t know (if that will succeed), because (a new irrigation system) is not a glamorous project. People are more likely going to contribute to a playground that helps kids or things like that. Realistically, it’s hard to imagine a lot of private dollars going for an irrigation system.”

Frankenhoff also suggested the finance committee will look into selling naming rights at the golf course to help raise money.

Frankenhoff said the corporate fund is the Park District’s most flexible, and it’s also healthy with $2 million available. He also noted the recreation fund has $500,000 available. He said the Park District could take money from different accounts to pay for some of the irrigation system.

“We really just want to consider everything at this stage,” he said. “A year or two down the line, when somebody comes up to us and says, ‘Why don’t you think of this? Why don’t you do it this way?’, we don’t want to say, ‘Oh, crap, we didn’t even talk about that.’ Let’s try to cover everything and dismiss what’s not realistic and narrow our focus.”

Commissioners held planning session March 30-31

No one has created a timetable for funding. Frankenhoff says the current irrigation system remains functional.

“We’re in a good place as far as timing,” he said.

Commissioners and directors held a special two-night planning session on March 30-31 to discuss goals and objectives. Debbie Reed, president and CEO of Chaddock, facilitated the meeting.

After that planning session, Facilitator Debbie Reed created a document to summarize key items the board wants to focus on which was distributed to commissioners.

“It’s a work in progress,” Leenerts said. 

Commissioners felt strongly about three things that tied into the Park District’s mission statement:

  • Making the Park District’s outdoor facilities a recreational destination.
  • Allowing residents to enjoy a more active lifestyle because of green space and recreational activities provided by the Park District.
  • Seeking collaborative partners who are responsive to the community.

“The next thing we need to do is figure out what specific goals, dollars and timelines do we actually put underneath of those so that we don’t just have this pie in the sky wish,” Leenerts said. “We can actually try to achieve something, and that’s what we want to work on. It’s not that much different than a strategic plan or the quarterly goals we put together, but it’s a little bit higher look that ties in the mission statement.”

Multiple construction projects under way throughout city

Commissioners also learned about several construction projects now under way.

  • Director of Parks Matt Higley said materials for a new shelter house in Madison Park have been delivered. Construction is scheduled to begin next week.
  • Morgan said concrete work on the new patio next to the clubhouse at Westview is finished.  A pergola is yet to be added.
  • Construction has started on the replacement of the porch at the Lorenzo Bull House, 1550 Maine. 

Commissioners accepted a bid of $32,300 from Derhake Brothers Plumbing and Excavating for the construction of an ADA-compliant restroom on the 22nd hole at Westview. 

The board also approved the alignment for the burial of power lines along Quincy’s riverfront from Kesler Park to Clat Adams Bicentennial Park. One of the first recommended phases of the Riverfront master plan was the burial of the Ameren power lines. A state grant acquired with help from Sen. Jil Tracy will help pay for the project. The city also has applied for a grant through Sen. Dick Durbin’s office for a portion of the costs.

Mike Bruns, director of program services, told commissioners that 1,089 kids have registered to date for spring and summer baseball, softball and T-ball programs. A record-high 1,200 or more kids should be registered by the time all leagues start. The youth baseball league started this week.

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