By Kim Jansen

News Report Staff

The Effingham Park District oversees several parks, ball fields and facilities, so it is no surprise that each year the district’s board of directors has decisions to make on how to best maintain and improve those properties.

As a result, it has become common practice over the years for the Effingham Park District Board to issue general obligation bonds to finance projects, with the bonds being paid off at the end of the year.

This year is no exception, except the board is requesting to increase the amount by $50,000 from last year’s amount of $500,000 to finance this year’s improvements.

“We increased the amount this year to $550,000,” said Park Director Jeff Althoff. “This is one of the best ways we can get the money we need to make the needed changes and upgrades.”

Projects in past years have included everything from ball diamond lights to tennis courts to press boxes to playgrounds to restrooms to a maintenance shed.

As for this year’s projects, Althoff noted that the majority of the funds will go to pay the debt service of the Richard Workman Sports and Wellness Complex, with the remaining funds, which will be around $65,000, to be used for improvement projects.

“If we didn’t have the additional funds, it would be really hard to make any needed repairs, especially as our facilities get outdated,” said Althoff.

At past meetings, the board has discussed needed improvements to the Kluthe Memorial Pool, which have included work to the pool’s pump room and the addition of new recreational equipment for the pool.

Althoff said other projects discussed have included new fencing to replace some of the older fencing at ball diamonds and improvements to the parking area at the Ron Diehl Recreation Center.

“It is a little too soon to tell,” said Althoff about which projects will be completed this year. “We will take five of the top things we know that need to be addressed, get prices and see how we can get the most bang for our buck.”

A public hearing was held prior to this month’s board meeting regarding the bonds and no members of the public commented on the bond request. The next step will be for the board to approve issuing the bonds, which is anticipated to occur at the February meeting.