Local Government

Quincy Park District explores Lenane Park sale

A view of Leanne Park on Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2019. The Quincy Park District is considering selling the park north of Bob Bangert Park. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 14, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Sep. 14, 2019 12:24 am

QUINCY -- A park in the northwest corner of Quincy could be put up for public auction, though it would require voter approval.

The Quincy Park District is exploring disposing of Lenane Park, which is described as a "peaceful turnoff" along Bonansinga Drive.

Park Board President John Frankenhoff said the district was approached by an adjacent landowner about potentially selling the park several months ago. The landowner was not disclosed.

However, a proposal in April to resurface the park road -- the lowest-rated road in the district -- using $26,640 in uncommitted bond funds brought more attention to the park and made some commissioners wonder whether the district needed to hold on to it.

"Why do we want to invest money in this parking lot when there's really nothing there in this park, and calling it a park is a stretch," Frankenhoff said. "It's a parking lot with some boulders."

Park District officials say there is little activity at the park.

"It's a little over 5 acres and basically, it's just a driveway that goes through it, and people park there and let their dogs take a quick run," said Executive Director Rome Frericks. "There's no other amenities at that park."

Lenane Park doesn't even have picnic tables or garbage cans.

"We've tried to in the past, but they kind of grow legs and disappear, so maintenance has stopped taking pieces of equipment down there," Frericks said.

The park is named after Leo Lenane, Quincy's mayor from 1933 to 1941 and 1953 to 1961. The site of a former Quincy city quarry, the picnic area was created in 1963.

To sell the property, the Park Board must pass a resolution by a four-fifths vote -- six members of the seven-person board. It also would then require approval from voters in a referendum, because Lenane Park is larger than 3 acres.

Commissioners aren't expected to consider a resolution to place the question on the November 2020 ballot until next spring or summer.

Frankenhoff said that with ongoing wetlands restoration at Bob Bangert Park to the south and Bill Klingner Trail development through Parker Heights, he doesn't see a need for Lenane Park. The Park District also is exploring expanding the trail south to Lincoln Park.

"As far as I know, (Lenane Park) has never been used for much," he said.

If commissioners decide to approve a resolution seeking voter approval, Frankenhoff said the board could direct proceeds from a sale to a project or for land acquisition for a future park in the southeast portion of the city.

The park has been appraised at $60,000

This is the second time in three years that the Park District has floated selling off park land.

In November 2016, the Park District announced that it was exploring auctioning off a 5.5-acre portion of Parker Heights Park. The Knapheide Manufacturing Co. even provided an irrevocable pledge of $100,000 to buy the tract on the northeast portion of the park between North Fifth and U.S. 24.

The plan was scuttled in April 2018 after only four commissioners supported a resolution to place the issue on the April ballot.

Frankenhoff, who supported a Parker Heights auction, noted there were concerns over Native American burial sites in the park, but that isn't a concern for Lenane Park.

The Park District also is considering selling a 0.2-acre parcel it owns at Second and Spruce adjacent to Sunset Park.

In order to sell property of less than 3 acres, the Park District must petition Adams County Circuit Court to gain permission. A notice of a court hearing must be published in a newspaper at least 10 days before the hearing. After the hearing, the court can approve the district's request to move forward with the sale.