Funding OK’d for Janesville skatepark

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011
— Money for a Janesville skatepark was included in the city’s borrowing plans this year, and a park could be up and running next year if another $20,000 in private funds comes through.

The Janesville City Council on Monday voted to include $50,000 for the first phase of a skatepark when it borrows $12 million in its annual note issue. The council will approve the borrowing at a future date.

Most of the money will pay for such basics as street maintenance and infrastructure. A total of $500,000 would buy a site for a centrally located fire station, and another $300,000 will pay for a new roof at the Tallman House.

The council agreed to keep $50,000 for the park in the borrowing, along with $50,000 to ready the site on Jackson Street.

Council members Kathy Voskuil and Tom McDonald were absent.

City Administrator Eric Levitt said the city could complete the first phase of the project for about $110,000, with an estimated gap of about $20,000 to be filled by private donations. He said he expects the private group that has raised money for the park for six years to contribute about $30,000, the last figure he had heard.

How much the group has raised in unknown. Last week, organizer Roger Streich told the Gazette he has raised $50,000.

On Monday, Streich told the council he did not know how much has been raised and that he must defer to his wife, Fern, who is the group’s treasurer. She was sick and could not be at the meeting, he said.

Councilman Sam Liebert suggested the council borrow another $30,000 to make sure the first phase can be completed. Councilman Russ Steeber said the council had always planned to spend about $50,000 and is now spending another $50,000 to demolish a building on the site.

“The city’s pretty much done its part with the $100,000 that’s given,” he said.

“Sometimes, when there’s a shortfall like that, that’s when there’s an incentive for the community,” Steeber said. “If you take and put it on the taxpayers, I don’t know if Roger will be able to raise the money.

“We need additional people to come to the plate,” Steeber said.

Levitt said he plans to work with the community to raise the extra money. That might be easier because the project is now broken down in three phases.

Liebert withdrew his motion, saying the city’s contribution might provide incentive for that final push for the private sector to kick in money and be a partner in the project.

Councilman Yuri Rashkin asked that another $100,000 be borrowed for blight elimination. The council created a blight elimination fund, and the money is down to about $60,000.

The city should have the money to take advantage of the down real estate market, Rashkin said.

Steeber suggested that amount be increased to $140,000 for a total of $200,000. All five council members agreed.

Other business

The Janesville City Council on Monday:

-- Approved an ordinance banning firearms from marked city buildings. This would not include firearms carried by law enforcement personnel. Councilman Sam Liebert suggested the city also write an ordinance requiring places that sell alcohol to hang signs reminding patrons they cannot drink and carry concealed guns.

Liebert asked that such an ordinance come back before the council.

Last updated: 6:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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