By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
No matter what voters decide on April 9, the Quincy Park Board will have at least one new member.
Five people are vying for four spots. Three current board members -- John Frankenhoff, Patty McGlothlin and Greg Feldberg -- are running for re-election, while political newcomers Chris Blakeman and Abby Schlipmann are also vying for spots. Current board member Mike Ridder chose not to run for re-election after serving two terms.
Frankenhoff, 41, a computer network administrator, is seeking his fourth term in office. He has served as the board's president since May 2007. McGlothlin, 57, a retired teacher, is seeking her second full term. She was appointed to the board in November 2007. Feldberg, 36, a financial consultant, was appointed in November to serve the rest of Tom Behrens' term after he retired from the board in October. This is Feldberg's first run for office. He took out a petition to run for a Park Board seat in 2011 but decided against running.
Schlipmann, 30, the Director of Wellness at Quincy Medical Group, serves on several boards and is a member of the Friends of the Trails board, which is trying to raise funds to help complete the Cedar Creek Trail. Blakeman, 53, the Director of Dining Services at Quincy University, is also active with several civic organizations and serves on the board for the Central Illinois Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Association of Adams County.
All five candidates agree that the Park Board needs to continue to monitor how the Park District uses the tax money it receives. The Park Board approved a slight increase to its tax levy for 2013. The levy of 0.389 cents per $100 assessed valuation is expected to generate just over $2.2 million. In 2012, the district had $2.175 million in revenue from a levy of 0.385.
The Park District has several big projects coming up. Those have been put in motion by the current board. Later this year, the Park District will move its offices from the Emerson Community Center to the former River's Edge Complex on Bonansinga Drive. Work on the project has already started. Park District officials hope to move into the space this summer.
The next phase of the Cedar Creek Trail seems to becoming more of a reality. The Friends of the Trail group is close to raising its $500,000 goal. A $108,000 donation by the Quincy Rotary Club and $100,000 donations by Blessing Health System and Quincy Medical Group put the group over $450,000 in pledges last month.
If the group can reach its goal by the end of 2014, the Park District will match the funds by issuing general obligation or alternate bonds. The first phase of the project, a mile-long stretch between 12th and 18th streets, opened in summer 2009. The next phase plans to take the trail from North 12th Street to North Fifth Street.
The new board members will have to tackle several issues in the coming years. The present board pushed aside talks last fall about what to do with an aging pool at Wavering Aquatic Center after pool numbers sagged against more competition. The Park District is also looking at possible changes to Westview Golf Course and plans have been drawn up for a skate park to be built at Wavering Park.
The newly elected board members will be seated at the May 8 board meeting. They will join Jeff VanCamp, Tom Ernst and Chris Hogge.