Community is encouraged to review Park District’s budget

By Gus Bode

$91,000 loan proposed for playground improvements

The public has an opportunity to inspect the Carbondale Park District’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2004 and develop questions and suggestions for a community meting Sept. 8, which will solidify the budget for this fiscal year.

The proposed budget for the year (July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004) anticipates $3,560,656 in expenditures and $3,560,690 in projected revenues. The Carbondale Park District must adopt a budget by Oct. 1.


Of the projected revenue, $91,000 must come from a bank loan, according to the tentative budget. The purpose of the loan is to make improvements on the playground equipment at Tatum Heights and Evergreen Park, according to Richard Grant, director of the Park District.

While the playground equipment is usable, it does not meet the National Playground Safety Institute safety standards, said Grant. Improvements on the park equipment were planned for last year but were deferred because of budget concerns.

Michael Heck, board treasurer, agrees that upgrading the playgrounds is necessary. However, he is skeptical about taking out a bank loan to fund the project.

“Improvements need to be made so that everyone can enjoy the parks the way they were intended,” Heck said. “The question I have is whether or not it really needs to be done with a loan.”

Heck’s concern is that a loan would have to be paid back, plus interest. He is looking for alternatives to fund the playground improvements, such as selling some of the Park District’s property.

Also on the budget agenda will be the move of the District’s administrative offices from Hickory Lodge to the LIFE Center. The move is intended to consolidate offices and allow for more efficient use of staff and equipment, as well as providing better service to the customers of the District, according to Grant.

Heck strongly encourages the public to view the proposed budget and to voice questions and concerns at the public hearing of the Tentative Combined Annual Budget/Appropriations Ordinance 04-1. The hearing will take place at the Carbondale Civic Center at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 and will be televised on City of Carbondale’s government channel 16.


The Carbondale Park District was organized by referendum in 1940. The District serves a population of 27,628 with an assessed value of $185,462,437. It is separate and distinct from the city, county or any other political body.

The Carbondale Park District operates Alice Wright Early Childhood Center, Hickory Ridge Family Golf Center, Kids Korner, LIFE Community Center and Hickory Lodge, Park and Golf Maintenance Headquarters.

Nicole Sack can be reached at [email protected]