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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Guest column: Geneseo Park District board discusses Athletic Field

  • The Board of Commissioners of the Geneseo Park District is committed to planning for the future. During recent years we have been working to develop a master plan for our Park District.
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  • The Board of Commissioners of the Geneseo Park District is committed to planning for the future. During recent years we have been working to develop a master plan for our Park District.
    Based on recent survey results and citizen input, the Board had chosen the Athletic Field as the first project to be completed. This park would offer free services to all residents. The outdoor pool project would soon follow, upon completion of the Athletic Field.
    Funding for the Athletic Field would come from issuing new bonds at a low interest rate. The district has an existing bond obligation that will be paid off in January 2013.
    Application has also been made for a state grant to offset the cost of the project. This funding for the Athletic Field project would not impact the current tax rate.
    Since the announcement of the Athletic Field renovation, we, the board, along with the staff, have received many positive and negative comments concerning this project. In response to these comments, we have decided to re-evaluate our next steps, and gather more citizen input.
    We would like to provide you with a brief outline of the data that has lead our board to where we are in the planning process. Two statistically valid community-wide surveys were done of more than 825 households in 2011 and 2012. It is important to note that over half of survey respondents were not members of the Community Center.
    Public meetings were offered and stakeholder interviews were also conducted. Upon evaluation of the information, a five year master plan was developed. Goals and objectives are the cornerstone of the master plan and fall into three categories: administration, recreation, and parks and facilities. Three major projects emerged as priorities of the parks and facilities section: renovation of the Community Center, renovation of the Athletic Field, and renovation of the outdoor pool.
    The survey results indicate that 56 percent of all respondents believe that adding amenities to the Geneseo Community Center is important or very important. With 44 percent of park district residents holding memberships to the Community Center, the Board felt that basic needs are being met through the current facilities and that the Athletic Field and outdoor pool would take priority over the Geneseo Community Center improvements at this time.
    In the survey, 53 percent of the respondents indicate that improving the Athletic Field is important or very important. A newly renovated Athletic Field would provide a variety of recreational opportunities to all residents whether they are members to the Geneseo Community Center or not. Free access to a park that provides walking trails, fitness equipment, splash pad for water play, family shelters, and a children's garden brings quality of life opportunities to people of all ages.
    The outdoor pool is in need of renovation. With a bathhouse that was built in 1953, and a 33-year old filtration system, it is reaching the end of its useful life. Survey results indicate that 63 percent of the respondents believe improvements to the outdoor pool and bathhouse are important and very important.
    Page 2 of 2 - The outdoor pool provides important aquatic recreation to many residents. Swimmers access use of the outdoor pool through a seasonal membership or a daily use fee.
    We appreciate and value all of the comments that we have received and urge you to continue sharing ideas with us. It is always our goal to meet the needs of our community.
    Check out our Web site at www.geneseoparkdistrict.org to learn more about the Geneseo Park District or to e-mail your thoughts to a board member.

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