DIXON – The Park District is hoping to get a sizable grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help pay for a community center.
For several months the district has been putting together plans for a new center, and will ask voters on March 17 to annex property that would widen the Park District’s taxing boundaries from the city limits to the School District lines.
The referendum must be passed by those now in the district and those who would be brought into the fold.
Cost estimates for the center are expected to come in January, and Executive Director Duane Long recently told the Park Board about going after the IDNR grant, which could provide up to $2.5 million.
The Park and Recreational Facilities Construction Program grant is tailored toward constructing recreation centers or acquiring land for that purpose.
The center would be built in Meadows Park and include a teen center, study area, cafe, park district administration office, two community rooms, a fitness center, basketball courts, indoor track, turf fields, and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool.
The district estimates bringing in $917,000 more a year if the referendum is successful, which likely would be enough to afford a bond payment to build a community center and provide around $200,000 extra that would pay for further park capital projects and infrastructure work.
The district has been revenue-strapped for many years and often has to wait and see what funds are leftover for capital projects.
Possible projects the boundary expansion could pay for include adding playgrounds, resurfacing roads in Lowell Park, improving boat docks, and extending trails.
If the referendum passes by both groups of voters, those coming into the district would see a property tax increase of $150 for a $100,000 home.