Local Government

Park Board holds off video gaming machines at Westview for a month

Photo/Quincy Park District
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 13, 2017 10:00 pm Updated: Sep. 14, 2017 8:29 am

QUINCY -- A decision on whether to install two video gaming machines in the pro shop at Westview Golf Course is being delayed a month to provide time for more public input.

The Quincy Park Board tabled the resolution for the machines, which are seen as an opportunity to help offset costs at the 27-hole public golf course.

Park Commissioner Sara Reuschel, who made the motion to table, said it would be beneficial to get more input on the proposal.

"I think it would be better to try and get a better handle on what people are actually thinking," Reuschel said.

Both Commissioners Vicki Dempsey and Jeff Steinkamp had strong feelings against allowing the machines at Westview.

"In my practice of law, I've seen many people file bankruptcy because of their gambling habits," Dempsey said.

"We look at our mission statement to enhance the quality of life, and I can tell you from my standpoint working for Addicts Victorious, for people that have gambling addictions, there's no quality of life," Steinkamp said. "They get a paycheck on Friday, and it's all gone before they get home to their family."

Park District officials said there are about a dozen park districts in the state that have video gaming machines.

Records with the Illinois Gaming Board show there are two golf courses in the Quincy area with video gaming machines -- Cedar Crest Country Club and Spring Lake Country Club. The machines at those courses generated a combined net terminal income of $73,867 in 2016.

Net terminal income is split three ways. The establishment and the machine owners, which install the machines, each receives 35 percent. The state receives 30 percent of the winnings, with 5 percent shared with municipalities.

August financial records from the Gaming Board show there were 51 establishments operating 102 machines in the city of Quincy.

Gaming Board records also show that Westview does not have an application for a video gaming license pending.

Also Wednesday, the Park Board voted 5-1, with Dempsey dissenting, to apply for a grant through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program that could cover 35 percent of the estimated $1.076 million cost of the Bill Klingner Trail from Fifth Street to Bonansinga Drive.

Dempsey has expressed concerns about spending money to build a trail through Parker Heights Park when a road where vehicles are prohibited is already available.

The Park District was awarded a $972,000 grant to build the trail from Fifth to 12th streets and $792,000 for the portion of the trail from 18th to 24th streets, which is slated to be constructed next year.

The board also approved an agreement with Friends of the Trails, which would raise $100,000 toward trail construction. The Park District would commit up to $510,000 and start construction within three years from the time the Friends' donation is provided.