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Sheffield considers playground projects

SHEFFIELD — The Sheffield Village Board approved a donation Monday night for the ongoing project in the village to bring new playground equipment to Veterans Park.

The village pledged to donate $2,900 to the effort. In addition to the donation, the village also pledged to support the project by looking into the construction of restroom facilities at Veterans Park. Board members agreed the addition of restroom facilities would make the park more accessible. The cost of the proposed restroom facility is estimated to be between $10,000-$15,000.

Mayor Bill Rosenow told the board he envisions the facilities to be similar to the block building structures found at the nearby Hennepin Canal Parkway. The cost for the restroom will be minimized through the use of an existing sewer line adjacent to the park. Initial thinking is the facility would be built near the park’s old sandbox. Board members want to provide the restroom facility as a means for the village to contribute to the playground project. The nearly $50,000 raised for the project was funded entirely through donations.

The board also agreed that pea gravel will not be used to surface the park playground equipment area. The park will use a mulch-derived material. Pea gravel gets in people’s shoes and tears up the playground equipment, according to the mayor.

The American Legion is also looking into ways to improve the park’s war memorial.

The board also began the process of examining another source of funding for the village playground, parks and community buildings. Money for those facilities is currently received through the village general fund or fundraisers. The concern is that funding for those items is taking money away from other village needs. Another source of funding could come from a levy that would have to be approved by the council and then the public via a referendum. As currently conceived, the levy could potentially raise $16,000, if the maximum tax rate was applied. The mayor will check with auditors to determine estimates of what a typical property would be assessed to fund the levy.

“We need a stable funding mechanism to support our parks and community buildings,” Rosenow said. “The village has to move beyond relying on fundraisers and donations for support.”

He sees support of the playground and community buildings as vital to keep the village attractive to potential residents.

“We don’t want to become a bedroom village unable to support the basic facilities found in nearby communities,” Rosenow said.

According to the village treasurer, Sheffield received an Illinois Jobs Now check for $4,108. The money will go toward the motor fuel tax fund. The village also anticipates a share of video gaming receipts from the state of Illinois. The village’s share of receipts is 25 percent of whatever is brought in. Receipts from video gaming have not been up to state expectations, so the state is switching to a different video gaming vendor.

In other business:

• The village approved the payment of $5,250 to the North Central Illinois Council of Governments for the final bill for the sewer/water project.

• The village approved a donation of $1,000 to the Western Bureau County Food Pantry.

• The village gave a big thanks to the Celebrate Sheffield Committee and the work it did to make the event a success despite the inclement weather.

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