DIXON — The Dixon Park District has found that it can afford to build a new facility in the Meadows this year.
The Park Board will vote Wednesday to construct a $2.9 million building next to Water Wonderland.
The district has issued $2 million in general obligation bonds to help fund a “Phase 1″ building that includes a gym with two courts, a community room, and administrative offices — all in order to increase programming and give a foundation for a potential community center in future years.
The Dixon City Council approved donating $700,000 for the project, and the district landed a low-interest loan from Sauk Valley Bank. Another partner is Trinity Financial, which purchased the naming rights to the Trinity Financial Community Room.
“The best part is that we can build this facility within our current budget because of these partnerships,” district executive director Duane Long said. “We do not need a tax increase to complete this project.”
Bank President and CEO Dirk Meminger said it was a “perfect example of the power of public and private partnerships.”
The community room and outdoor patio space will be available for rental and the two courts will include automatic volleyball nets, batting cages and basketball hoops.
Different community organizations have tried to build a community center, sports complex or recreation center in Dixon for many years, but failed to lock-in tax increases to do so.
“A facility like this has been a topic of discussion when our children were young,” Trinity owner Brett Nicklaus said. “We are ecstatic that our grandchildren will get to enjoy this beautiful facility.”
Long is adamant that the structure is not a community center and that community members would be disappointed that it wouldn’t have all the features of a grand complex like a pool and turf fields.
“The Phase 1 facility is just the beginning. This facility will meet the park district’s basic needs, but future phases will meet the entire community’s needs,” he said.
Construction was originally pegged for spring 2022, but the district went out to bid for the project in July because of the increasing cost of building materials. Work could start as soon as Oct. 11, and the timeline will be finalized soon.
The district would sell their current office at 804 Palmyra St. after the facility is built, and likely pursue a referendum in the next few years to expand taxing boundaries from city limits to school district lines to expand the center.
Source: The Daily Chronicle