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Proposed budget calls for $543,800 more than last year

Officials cite Westwood fire, new trails, ADA compliance measures

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

STERLING – The proposed 2013-14 operating budget for the Sterling Park District is $543,800 more than the 2012-13 budget. The increase, the executive director said, is the result of the Westwood fire and the trails project.

The Sterling Park District Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 5:30 tonight, at the Frasor Center, 1913 Third Ave., regarding the proposed budget. Immediately after the public hearing, the board will vote on it.

The proposed budget is $6,837,350, up from the $6,293,550 for 2012-13. The increase can be attributed to three factors, Park District Executive Director Larry Schuldt said: the Westwood fire, continuing efforts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a trails project.

The Westwood Sports Center, 1900 Westwood Drive, was evacuated May 6 when a fire broke out in a maintenance room, causing smoke damage to the fitness center and tennis courts. No one was inured.

While most of the repairs will be paid by the city's insurance, some equipment purchases and smaller expenses first must be paid by the city, then will be reimbursed by the insurance company, Schuldt said.

The proposed budget includes $211,000 of revenue, listed as insurance reimbursement, in the Westwood fund.

Trails from Martin’s Landing will be connected with Sinnissippi Park, at a cost of $475,000, which Schuldt said will come from state grants and donations. 

An area park user filed a complaint with the Illinois attorney general’s Disability Rights Bureau in April 2009, and since then the park district has been working to get in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires all municipal governments, including park districts, to be accessible to people with physical or mental impairments.

The park district has allocated money in the proposed 2013-14 operating budget to update a baseball field at the Gartner Park Baseball Complex ($115,000) and to research and design an elevator in Building 3 at the Westwood Sports Center.

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