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Government Local

DeKalb park buildings need $1.25 million in repairs

Emergency capital project will draw down district's reserves

DeKALB – Replacing an aging maintenance building and creating a permanent dog park are among the projects DeKalb Park District leaders have decided to pursue this year.

Board members have tentatively approved an $8.5 million budget for the fiscal year that starts March 1 and must formally adopt the budget this month. The budget includes almost $1 million more in capital spending because of emergent problems with the park district’s maintenance facilities, Executive Director Jason Mangum said.

“We realized it was in worse shape than we thought,” Mangum said.

The budget doesn’t include capital projects for Hopkins Pool, which board members continue to debate. They have to formulate a plan for making the pool comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act this year.

“Because of the immediate needs for the repairs at the maintenance campus,” Mangum said. “we didn’t include major expenses for Hopkins.”

District leaders budgeted $1.25 million for the maintenance campus, which consists of three buildings at 1205 E. Locust St.

The main one that housed equipment and several offices was built in 1935, Parks and Development Superintendent Mat Emken said. An engineer in November deemed the building structurally unsound and uninhabitable, spurring the district to vacate it.

“We’re not exactly sure what we’re going to do yet,” Emken said. “Be it repair, replacement or finding another property.”

Whatever district leaders decide to do, completing the project along with several others in the budget will deplete the capital projects fund reserve from $1.1 million to $276,000, Mangum said.

Overall, the district will bring in $7.5 million in revenue and spend $8.5 million, reducing the total fund balance from $3.5 million to $2.4 million. Lisa Small, the superintendent of finance, said the needs for the maintenance buildings could affect other annually scheduled projects.
“We’re going to have to decide if we’re going to have short-term borrowing to cover things or defer other projects,” Small said.

The capital projects budget does include $75,000 for establishing a permanent dog park. Park officials haven’t decided where to put a permanent dog park, Mangum said, although board members looked at four options, including the temporary dog park at Katz Park, in September.

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