Local Government

Adams County Board agrees to help develop riverfront master plan for Quincy

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 11, 2019 12:01 am

The Adams County Board voted 12-5 Tuesday to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Quincy City Council and the Quincy Park Board to develop a riverfront master plan for Quincy.

Under the proposal, the county would provide $250,000 in funding while the city kicks in $150,000 to have consultants draft a plan for the area targeted for improvement -- primarily from Third Street to the riverfront and from Broadway to Edgewater Park. The plan could ultimately extend farther north to Lincoln Park and Bob Bangert Park.

The Park District would not pay anything upfront, but it would provide input and be largely responsible for future maintenance of any improvements.

The Quincy City Council voted 8-7 Monday night to participate in the project, and the Park Board is slated to consider the matter on Wednesday.

Riverfront development was one of the top initiatives spelled out in the Quincy Next Strategic Plan adopted by the City Council in March 2018. However, the concept requires cooperation from all three of the local governing bodies.

Not everyone on the County Board was eager to go along with the plan. For example, Ryan Hinkamper wanted to table action on the proposal for a month, but his motion was shot down by a vote of 11-6.

Hinkamper said the county has been spending a lot of money recently on big projects, such as the new jail, and he's not sure the county needs to get involved in another project.

"It seems like the citizens are getting tired of tax and spend," he said.

Finance Committee Chairman Bret Austin spoke in favor of the project, saying the city, county and park district are simply getting the project started, but he has no intention of seeing the county pump a lot of money "down a rabbit hole" to carry out riverfront improvements.

"There are many ways to go at this" without using taxpayer dollars, Austin said.

The master plan would identify short, mid-term and long-term projects that could transform the riverfront into an area of daily activity and attraction.

Some of the ideas discussed initially by organizers called for developing a riverfront promenade/boardwalk along with a public boat dock at Clat Adams Bicentennial Park where small vessels and large cruise ships could tie up. Another idea called for addressing the steep incline between Third Street and the riverfront by developing "sidewalk switchbacks" and incorporating a lookout, lighting and landscaping.

A "scope of services" developed by organizers lays out the initial objectives of building public consensus and confirming a vision for the targeted area near the riverfront.

Consultants in the first phase would meet with stakeholders from the city, county and park district; establish goals and timelines; assemble relevant data; identify funding sources; and take other steps to prepare a preliminary proposal that would be reviewed at a series of public meetings in the spring, summer and fall of 2020.

A riverfront committee would eventually issue final recommendations before the riverfront master plan is adopted -- possibly by the end of 2020.

In other action Tuesday, the board passed a $10.46 million tax levy that's expected to trigger a slight increase in the county's tax rate next year.

The new levy for the 2019 tax year is up 4.9% from the 2018 tax levy of $9.97 million. However, taxpayers should only see a minimal uptick in the Adams County portion of their real estate tax bills payable next year.

The county's projected tax rate is 0.80869, up from the 2018 rate of 0.80126. The new 2019 tax rate will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $270 next year, an increase of $3 from the tax bill paid this year.

The board also:

º Approved three new contracts with county employee groups -- court security personnel, corrections sergeants at the jail and road sergeants with the sheriff's department. Austin said details won't be announced until the contracts are ratified by the unions.

º Agreed to cooperate with the city in applying for a $50,000 state grant for a local media campaign aimed at increasing public awareness about the importance of participating in the 2020 census.

º Passed a resolution to replace the bridge carrying Township Road 255 (Point Pleasant Road) over Frazier Creek in Riverside Road District. The board also authorized a $10,000 professional services agreement with Klingner and Associates to design the improvement.

º Approved the appointment of Terry Gibson to fill an unexpired six-year term ending Dec. 31, 2025, on the Sheriff's Merit Commission.