Village needs help for park district

Nicolas Stroman

The village of Dunlap is hoping to recruit some local residents to help spearhead the effort to form a new park district.

Fennell told the village board at the Sept. 14 meeting that the park district formation is going to involve a large amount of legwork, and he simply does not have the time to do it all himself.

“Someone needs to get involved and help write out the proper detailed boundaries with the state guidelines before we take our issue to the Peoria County Board and other places,” Fennell said.

Fennell said he envisions the position taking up about 10 hours per week for a few weeks of work.

“It would be lots of trips to the courthouse and to the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. The going door to door would involve several people and not until a few weeks before the spring election,” Fennell said.

“First, we have to have our nuts and bolts in order,” he added.

Fennell said Princeville also wants to form a park district and he heard they have hired someone in a similar capacity.

Trustee Jeff Dixon volunteered to take on some of the work, but he said he would have to have some help.

Fennell said another concern is finding people to run for the park board.

Trustee Sheila Taylor suggested tapping members of the Dunlap Recreation Association for board spots while Trustee Colleen Slane said she can put the word out to residents on Facebook and the village website.

Fennell added Chillicothe only just started its park district four to five years ago and they are already creating a new park which will include a splash pad.

“One day we could be doing that kind of stuff here and probably for less money,” Fennell said.

In other action and discussion, the board:

• Approved an ordinance for a fourth pre-annexation agreement that includes eight additional homeowners who have decided to annex their properties into the village of Dunlap.

• Approved a request from Village Superintendent Dale Bishop to proceed with rock filter work on the lagoons.

Bishop said he has talked to Dick Johnson Farms and they can deliver 400 to 500 ton of rock filter to start them off on the project.

The board approved for Bishop to proceed as long  as expenses were kept under $30,000 with labor and rock combined.

Bishop said he will utilize the insights of the sewer committee and Treasurer Dwight Johnson as he forges ahead.

• Heard an update from Bishop on road work in the Copperfield Drive subdivision.

Bishop said two of the three phases have been completed, as both companies worked on their projects at the same time.

He said there were no complaints from homeowners about parking or inconveniences either.

The last phase involving work to the subdivision entrance is expected to start this week when concrete baskets are delivered.

• Heard from Trustee Lori Parkhill about concerns with providing more community-wide activities.

Parkhill said areas like Copperfield are proactive in rallying neighbors to create their own activities, but the village doesn’t provide much that involves all residents.

“I agree, but it needs to be spearheaded by the community, and not something that will always rest on our shoulders,” Taylor said.

Some ideas discussed include holiday fare like pumpkin carving contests and Christmas caroling, and a possible village-wide garage sale during Dunlap Days weekend.

• Heard from Slane regarding the outcome of this year’s Dunlap Days.

Slane said although she considered Dunlap Days a success because it took in a little more than $10,000 in profit, the village spent almost the same amount in putting on the festival.

“That makes it sort of a wash. We still had to pay out $1,800 for the bags tournament and our donation to St. Jude too,” Slane said.

She said her committee is already planning next year’s event for Aug. 24 and 25 by locking in the band Jammsammich and has plans to expand the bags tournament into two divisions.

Slane said she would also like to see the profit made at Dunlap Days be put away as seed money for other future projects.

“Thanks so much to everyone on the board for helping things go so smoothly this year. I really enjoy working on it,” Slane said.

“I have heard nothing but positive feedback on Dunlap Days this year,” Dixon added.

• Discussed an emailed request from Mickie’s Pizzeria about having a bags tournament outside the restaurant soon.

Fennell said he would like to follow up with them and find out the specifics of the event such as the start and end times and parking.

Village Clerk Fraser Engerman said ideally the village attorney could draft a special use permit for Mickie’s and it could serve as a model form for other businesses to use when needing permission for special events.

• Heard from Engerman about Freedom of Information Act training for elected officials.

Engerman said Gov. Pat Quinn recently passed a bill that expands FOIA training to all public officials, and not just the FOIA officer.

Engerman was appointed FOIA officer for Dunlap last year.

He said once a village official is elected, he or she must now complete an online FOIA training within a specific time frame.

Engerman said Village Treasurer Dwight Johnson will now act as a second FOIA officer in case a request is made while he is absent.

“Since we provided the forms, we have received two FOIA requests in two months, both involving garbage removal,” Engerman added.