Paxton Park District won't sponsor circus' return in 2018

PAXTON — If the circus comes back to town, it will not be under the sponsorship of the Paxton Park District.

At its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, the park district’s board of commissioners elected not to host and sponsor the return of the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus to Coady Park in May 2018.

According to Paxton Park District Recreation Director Neal McKenry, the decision was made mainly as a result of the space needed by the circus in the past, which would not be available and accessible this time around. 

The park district will be contacting other local organizations to see if they would be interested in hosting and sponsoring the one-night event, McKenry said.

Bid accepted for parking lot and drainage projects
Also at the meeting, the board accepted one of three bids received for the Civic Center parking lot and drainage projects.

The board accepted the low bid from Iroquois Paving, initially priced at $129,122.

One line item in the bid pertaining to extra excavation and releveling of one specific area was deemed not completely necessary by all three parties, said McKenry. 

The cutback allowed the board to take off $15,210 from that particular expense, which was originally estimated at $16,250, McKenry said. The actual cost of the project was reduced to $113,912 as a result. 

“The scope of the job will consist of repaving and restriping a large portion of the parking lot, installing a pathway from the parking lot to the tennis court area and improving drainage on and around the parking lot and northeast section of the park,” McKenry said. “The project will be paid for using funds in the park district’s construction and development restricted fund.”   

According to McKenry, it is unclear at this time when Iroquois Paving will start the project, as the park district still needs to have its initial pre-construction meeting.

“Indications point to later this fall, with completion by early November,” McKenry said. 

Board to request $100,000 general obligation bond
Also, the board gave the go-ahead to Ross Sorensen, the park district’s legal counsel, to initiate paperwork requesting a $100,000 general obligation bond in the form of a tax levy. 

“This is the same amount requested by the park district for at least the past three or four years,” McKenry said. 

An official decision, along with the applicable ordinance, will not be voted on until the October or November meeting. 

Monies collected from the bond can only go toward capital improvements within the park district, McKenry said. Past projects for which such bond money was used included the construction of a maintenance shed at Coady Park, the construction of a pavilion at Coady Park, new flooring and a kitchen area at the Civic Center and the purchase and installation of a new swimming pool liner. 

Plans for 2018, according to McKenry, would include new siding and a new roof on the pool’s mechanical shed, new gutters on the pool’s bathhouse and, possibly, the beginnings of a walking path around Coady Park.   

Other business
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

➜ The board discussed the idea of implementing its own “smoke-free parks” ordinance. The park district would ideally like to partner with the city on such an ordinance, McKenry said, so that all parks, whether city-owned or park district-owned, would be smoke-free, and not just some. “Even if the city council is not interested, the park district board may still decide to implement a ban in their parks,” McKenry said. 

➜ Registration is under way for the youth volleyball program and adult volleyball and basketball leagues, McKenry said. The park district has also finalized a youth martial arts program that is open for registration, with the deadline to sign up set for Thursday Sept. 21.

➜ The park district is hosting a first aid/CPR/AED certification class on Saturday, Oct 7, the board learned. The cost is $15 for the first aid portion of the class, $15 for the CPR/AED portion of the class, or $25 total for both sessions. People interested in signing up can contact the park district at 217-379-4203.


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