Monticello OKs measures for recreation funding

MONTICELLO — The council approved two measures aimed at providing funding for recreation facilities.

The first earmarks video gaming revenues toward a new parks and playground equipment fund.

Gaming revenues have just started to roll in, but will bring an estimated $35,000 annually. The city has already committed $25,000 a year through 2016 to Piatt County's Habitat For Humanity. The remainder will go to the parks fund, then all gaming revenue will be earmarked for rec purposes in 2017.

The council also endorsed the idea of transferring $100,000 annually for four years into the parks fund in order to match state grants that will eventually be sought for development of the 30-acre rec site.

"Since the treasurer's report now has more money in it than it did at this time last year," City Superintendent Floyd Allsop said, "why not take ... some of that money each year and dedicate it for those purposes?"

The idea is for the city to have the requisite matching funds on hand should they receive grant approval. Allsop noted the dollars may be recalled by the city at any time.

Several aldermen spoke out in favor of putting aside funds aside for parks.

"This is a prudent, worthwhile investment," said alderman Tim Hayes. "This just moves us the next step forward" in regards to the 30-acre site on the west side of the city.

Allsop added the city's popular Nick's Park also needs equipment upgrades, and hopes that gaming revenues can help fund another community effort to provide new equipment.

"The city's not just for roads. The city's not just for sewers. It's not just about police," added Alderman Kevin Hiller. "You've got spend a little bit here, a little bit there."

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