State agency approves grant for Civic Center - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

State agency approves grant for Civic Center; decision to appropriate funds up to governor's office

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By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has approved the Quincy Civic Center Authority's grant application to construct a storage building for the Oakley-Lindsay Center, but it is unknown when the authority will receive the money.

The Civic Center Authority learned Wednesday that the grant application is now waiting in Gov. Pat Quinn's office.

"We've gone through all of (the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's) hoops," said Rob Ebbing, executive director of the OLC. "It's then moved on to the governor's office for the appropriations side of it. We all know the conditions with the state. So we don't know if and when it will be funded."

Ebbing said the authority requested $800,000 for the storage building and electrical upgrades in the McClain and Kent exhibition halls.

"We're running short on power in there for concerts, food shows and different things of that nature," he said. "We're going to bring another 600 amps into this building."

Ebbing said the halls lack lighting for "setting the mood" for events where they don't want gymnasium lights.

Construction of the storage building is expected to cost more than $500,000. The authority has $100,000 available for the storage building in its capital improvement bond budget, and it received $40,000 for two indoor soccer courts last year that also could be used to fund construction.

"We're just happy we jumped through the first bid hurdle with the grant application," Ebbing said. "It's going to be a matter of when the state can find ways of funding it."

Authority members also approved an amendment to the budget to create a $1,500 line item to lease temporary storage space.

Ebbing told the board the authority has rented storage space at a warehouse at 421 Payson for $600 a month.

With the rented storage space, Ebbing said, the trailers used for storage in the south parking lots of the facility will disappear.

Ebbing also told members that work on restoring concrete floors in the exhibition halls is moving forward. Sand dumped in McClain Hall where thousands of people filled bags in 2008 caused substantial damage to the floor. Even though the OLC was used during the flood, it does not qualify for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The project is costing about $65,000.

As part of the project, holes in the floor used for posts for the center's indoor soccer courts that were sold last year were filled in.

-- mhopf@whig.com/221-3391

 

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