Colona community center, park board face fierce opposition

A plan to build a new $4.5-million community center in Colona, Illinois is getting some heat from local residents who say they don’t want to pay higher taxes to help pay for it.

“Four million dollars. We can’t afford it out here. This is a small community,” said Colona resident Don Lind.  “The people that want to use it, let them form their own club and sell memberships.”

The Colona Park district is a taxing body, separate from the village. It was formed back in 1998, in part, to build a community center.  The facility would include a fitness center, pool, meeting space, and recreational space.

Board President Tony Alexander says they’ve applied for a $2.5-million grant from the state to offset about half the cost of the center.

If the grant falls through, Alexander says, residents who own a $100,000 house could pay about $130 more in taxes per year.

That’s what riles up resident Tom Jones, who is now passing petitions to try to disband the Park Board entirely.

“It’s the principal. They’re not listening to the people.  People should have  a right to vote on it. They want to build a four-million-dollar building, and it’s going to be on the taxpayers to pay for it. We can’t afford it out here,” Jones said.  “I’m saying, ‘Get rid of it.'”

He needs 1,100 verified signatures to try and get a referendum, to dissolve the board, on the Nov. 4th ballot. There are 8,000 residents in the district.

Alderman Mike King says he’s all for a facility that benefits young and old, but believes the project may have to be scaled back.

“People can’t afford a tax raise right now. The Park District can raise our taxes based on their current tax levy, they can raise it quite a bit without going to referendum,”  King said.

The board was set to meet Friday, July 11, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

4 comments

  • Bryan

    It absolutely should go to a public vote! Sounds like majority do not want the center and in typical “politicians know whats best” fashion, they pass it anyways. I say, REMOVE THE PARK BOARD!

  • Lani DeLoose

    I agree it should go to a vote as most don’t want it and they say it is only 30 cents ha ha they did not tell you most are elderly and on fixed income and that is over 40 years now for the taxes hmmm let us vote

  • Lori Mrosko

    Colona does not need a park board or do they need a community center…If you do things like this it will cause people to move out of this community… Colona was given Indian trails its a very nice family place that with a little time and effort could be fun for all…Question??? What has the parkboard done with all the money given to them in the past? Nothing by the way it looks… Im not at all impressed.. Plain and simple The park board needs to go….If the people do get a chance to get it on the Ballot It will not pass…

  • Red74

    Hhmmmm…..let me make sure I understand this one completely (because I really hope I misunderstood this…) So, they basically drive off a great opportunity to “better” the community by allowing a developer to come in and build a retirement village and then they turn right around and want to do something like this? Trust me, I lived in Colona my whole life (well, since first grade) so I truly understand the “need” for a community center, so why don’t they just get the 2.5 mil grant and apply it towards the old Indian Trails? Because it makes perfect sense to be “handed” Indian Trails (which can easily be turned into a community center, replace the outdoor pool, etc., etc., “IF” they get a 2.5 mil grant) and turn right around and build a 4.5 mil community center on top of that which will jack up tax payers dollars! {I hope you can sense my sarcasm there} lol Wow! Just shaking my head on this one.

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