Park Board to consider donation of Paul Dennis Soccer Complex during Thursday planning retreat

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An aerial view looking northeast at the Paul Dennis Soccer Complex, 4201 State, in Quincy. | Randy Phillips

QUINCY — The Quincy Park Board will discuss during its day-long retreat on Thursday whether to accept what would be one of the largest donations of land in Park District history.

The Quincy Park District received a letter on Aug. 3 from Brad Burghart, president of the Quinsippi Soccer League, proposing the donation of the 22-acre Paul Dennis Soccer Complex at 4201 State to the Park District. Burghart, representing the league’s board of directors, wrote that the league has ceased operation and has no income, other than $350 a month coming from a rental property at 4129 State.

“We ask that the Quincy Park District cover all costs of legally transferring the property, including engaging our attorney to review documents necessary to facilitate this transaction and the cost of maintaining the facility until this transfer is complete,” Burghart wrote. 

The Quinsippi Soccer League, established in 1967, had leagues last fall and this spring. However, Burghart said declining numbers led to the decision to shut down the league.

“The numbers just aren’t there to support the facility,” he said Wednesday night. “The Quincy Park District seems to be doing a decent job (with soccer). I mean, they’ve got the numbers. There’s really no sense in duplication of services. They can obviously do things at a lower price than what we can as a private entity.”

The seven-field complex is a short walk away from the softball and soccer fields on 14 acres at Boots Bush Park on 42nd and Maine. The complex was dedicated on Sept. 22, 1990, and named after Paul Dennis, former owner of Dennis Chicken Products of Augusta who died in 1977. His wife, Ann, made the tract of land available through the Mother Dennis Foundation, named in memory of Marian Dennis, Paul’s mother.

Burghart said the QSL bought the land for $56,000. He said the league added a rule to its charter that, in the event the league could not continue, that the facility would be donated to a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

“We’re just following the rules,” Burghart said. “If we sold it and took in a huge sum of money, we would have just turned around afterward and donated the money to somebody.”

Establishing a park in the southeast section of Quincy has been a priority for the Park Board for several years. This property will certainly satisfy that goal if the commissioners accept it.

“It kind of works,” Park Board President Jarid Jones said after Wednesday’s meeting. “It has to continue to feel good for the community out there. There’s a certain level of individuals who want to have activities that are kind of focused in their neighborhood. Yeah, I think that’d be a great thing … a great addition.”

The most recent donation of comparable significance was in October 2006 when the Park District received a $690,000 gift from the estate of Kenneth C. Boehl for the development of the first phase of the Cedar Creek Linear Park Multi-Use Trail between 12th and 18th Streets — now known as the Bill Klingner Trail.

Mike Parks, executive director of the Park District at the time, said $390,000 would be used for the park. The balance was to serve as an endowment, with interest used for maintenance and operation of the trail.

However, no decisions will be reached about the soccer complex during Thursday’s planning session. Instead, the seven commissioners will plan for 2024 by reviewing finances, proposed capital projects, the future of Art Keller Marina, irrigation at Westview Golf Course and development of the Bill Klingner Trail — as well as the soccer complex.

Burghart explained in his letter the costs to maintain the property are:

  • A second installment of property taxes at $1,848. Should the Park District accept the donation, it would no longer pay property taxes.
  • Electric usage at $112 per month.
  • Two insurance installments at $641 each.
  • Mowing fees for Chris Bichsel at $14,300 for the rest of the year.

A capital needs assessment of the property by Park District officials noted the following likely expenses:

  • Grinding and resurfacing of the parking lot at a cost of $300,000
  • Culvert replacement at $100,000
  • Brush removal from a drainage ditch
  • Tuckpointing and restroom repairs at concession stand at $50,000
  • Twenty ash trees to be removed
  • Repairs to the shelter house at $20,000
  • One additional full-time employee at $58,198 annually
  • Fertilizer and chemicals at $12,735 annually

Burghart has served on the board and as a coach in the Quinsippi Soccer League for nearly 20 years. His father, Bob, has been on the QSL board for 48 years.

“It’s probably more bittersweet for him to see it come to an end,” Burghart said. “But the Park District has the kids, and they need the facility. As long as they do what they say they’re going to do and continue to offer recreational soccer, it will be just fine. 

“I figure now this means I don’t have to run a league. I can go volunteer and coach. Boy, that would be kind of fun, too.”

EDITOR’S NAME: The previous executive director of the Park District was misidentified in a previous version of this story.

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