Philpot first person to announce candidacy for spot on Quincy Park Board

Mark Philpot

Mark Philpot | David Adam

QUINCY — Mark Philpot has a history of getting involved in his community, regardless of where he’s lived.

He’s only lived in Quincy for three years, but he’s already the chairman of the Quincy Human Rights Commission, the public affairs officer for American Legion Post 37 and vice director for Together with Tri-State Veterans, a Veterans Administration-sponsored initiative that brings awareness to veteran suicide in rural communities. 

He announced on Friday his candidacy to become a commissioner for the Quincy Park District. The election will be held on April 4, 2023. 

“There are a number of different things that my background in government helps give me a different perspective,” he said. “I wanted to bring some of that some of that skillset to the table. I’m very interested in what’s going on with the Park District. It’s one of the greater resources here in town, and I’d like to see it grow and flourish.”

Philpot, 53, was one of four people who tossed their hats into the ring in July when the Park Board was searching for a replacement for David Gilbert, who resigned to take a job in North Carolina. Jeff VanCamp eventually was selected, and his term as a commissioner will expire on May 1, 2023. VanCamp could run again in the April election to complete the final two years of Gilbert’s term.

The four-year terms of three commissioners — Jeff Steinkamp, Roger Leenerts and Nathan Koetters — also expire next May. Koetters said last week he will not run for a second term. Steinkamp and Leenerts have not made their intentions public. Philpot is running for one of the four-year terms.

A Chicago native, Philpot lived in south-central Iowa for 10 years before coming to Quincy. He is a psychiatric technician at Blessing Hospital and a remote crisis intervention specialist for CommUnity Crisis Services of Iowa City, Iowa.

He previously served as a commissioner for the Winnebago County Housing Authority in Rockford, an elected councilman for the city of Wellman, Iowa, and a trustee for the Wellman-Scofield Library District in Wellman. Philpot also served for 10 years as a board member for Comprehensive Community Solutions, a non-for-profit organization in Rockford that seeks to rehabilitate and empower at-risk youth. He previously was a volunteer firefighter in Rockford.

Philpot served in the Illinois Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1987 to 1995. After graduating from the former St. Willibrord Catholic High School in Chicago, he attended Rockford College (now Rockford University), Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., and Community College of the Air Force in Montgomery, Ala. He is completing his coursework for a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern New Hampshire University.

“I am definitely unorthodox by comparison to most people who are involved in government here,” Philpot said. “I came to town to get to work. I came to town to help. I came to town to be of service to others in my work life, in my personal life and in my service life. I’m not messing around. I’m here to get things done.”

Philpot sad he wants to improve the community’s green spaces and trails, and he wants to help bring the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament back to Quincy “as an opportunity to showcase the beauty of our town.” 

He also supports keeping open Art Keller Marina, which has lost money in each of the past three years and is on track to lose money again this year.

Board president John Frankenhoff told local media outlets after the board’s Aug. 1 planning session that keeping the marina open after 2023 wasn’t likely “unless something drastic happens.” However, after multiple meetings with members of the boating community during August, Frankenhoff and VanCamp said during the Park Board’s September meeting they were willing to pledge to keep the marina open through 2025.

“It will be a huge mistake for a river city to allow a resource like that to go to waste,” Philpot said. “I recognize there’s some maintenance involved in that. The Park District, the community at large and the boating community all need to be on the same page to cultivate that resource. It would be a huge mistake not to do that. We’d be literally missing the boat, if you can pardon the pun.”

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