By Erich Murphy
March 5, 2019
Director of Parks and Recreation Taylor Baxter told the Pontiac City Council his idea for program fee and pass changes, as well as his thoughts on furnishings for the new splash pad at its meeting Monday night at City Hall.
In regard to the rec center fees, Baxter proposed a five-point plan regarding fee structure. First, there is a 5 percent increase across the board. A resident family would pay $306 for a year as opposed to the current $291. District 90 residents go up to $351 from $334 and non-residents go to $382 from $364.
The second is participants having an option to participate in programs without purchase of a pass to the Rec Center. This would include outside programs being able to use a classroom and the Rec Center getting a fee from room rental or a percentage.
“Currently, you have to have a rec center pass in order to do a program with us,” Baxter told the council. “That has been a big deterrent for a lot of people coming in taking classes.
“We’ve had one class leave because participants didn’t want to do that. We have two big classes that would come back.”
He also wants to introduce a member vs. non-member rate. For a one-day-per-week class, the cost would be $24 for members ($4 per class) and $48 ($8 per class) for non-members. There is also a rate for the two-day-per-week classes.
The fourth item is that the cycle studio and fitness theater would be included in the Rec Center pass.
Finally, he added eliminating the drop-in fee for those who just spectating.
“I think (these) will really help our efforts moving forward,” Baxter said.
Baxter also discussed the splash pad furnishings. The anticipated grand opening of the new splash pad will be May 24, but in order to be ready, furnishings will be needed.
Baxter proposed purchasing eight benches and seven tables with umbrellas at a total cost of $18,814.60. He noted that this is well below the budgeted amount of approximately $29,000.
GLCEDC CEO Adam Dontz kicked off the regular agenda portion of the meeting with a report on his organization’s progress. He first introduces Pontiac Township High School District 90 Superintendent Jon Kilgore as the outgoing board chairman of four years, and Brad Solberg of OSF St. James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center as the new board chairman.
Dontz pointed out that there are 72 entities who are currently members of the GLDEDC, including 12 on the executive committee and 23 on the board of directors. He also pointed out that the revenues are split virtually down the middle between the public sector and the private sector, which is seen as a positive.
He added that of the top 20 employers in the county, 17 (85 percent) are involved in the GLCEDC. He said they collectively represent more than 4,500 jobs.
“I’m really pleased that those stakeholders, those employers, have been actively involved,” Dontz said. “I think we have pretty good representation throughout the community.”
He also discussed enterprise zones and a possible connection to one with Streator.
Mayor Bob Russell pointed out how economic development for Pontiac has changed in 25 years. He said that back then, the idea was to bring in new businesses with new jobs.
Now, it seems better to cultivate what is here and get job growth through the established businesses. ATR was used as an example by Russell and Dontz as a growing member. ATR has seen its employment more than double from 41 to 90 employees.
In other business, the fountain for Chautauqua Park was discussed in regard to raising funds and when a logical start for it could be. It was pointed out that some hurdles have been crossed and that now it appears to be up to the city to discuss it.
Russell pointed out that a meeting will need to take place to hammer out final details and that progress will be forthcoming sooner than later.