After not being selected for an IDNR Land and Water Conservation Fund grant during their first attempt at securing funding for a sports complex to be located off of Corvette Drive, the City of Litchfield held a public hearing for the proposed Route 66 Crossing Sports Complex in a second effort to obtain the grant.
According to Shelly Herman of Litchfield Economic Development, the grant is offered annually and covers 50 percent of the funding for projects that meet the outdoor recreational needs of a community. The grant Litchfield is applying for would be for $242,500, which would cover the acquisition of the land, with development of the complex coming later.
The proposed complex would have six to eight soccer fields, a concession stand and storage area, a half mile walking track and a parking lot with 90 parking spaces.
Herman said that the city would work with local soccer associations to maintain the fields and that the complex would be a public park for all to use. If the grant is successful, Herman estimated that the fields would not be ready until 2023.
Scott Hartel was on hand to represent Litchfield Youth Soccer and said that the organization completely supports the complex. He said that Litchfield does not have proper soccer facilities compared to other communities and the group wanted to offer their help.
Mayor Steve Dougherty asked how the complex would affect the city’s ability to host tournaments. Hartel said that he was also involved in the Central Illinois Youth Soccer Association and players from Litchfield travel to other towns in the league and Litchfield is the only facility without bathrooms, running water and a concession stand, meaning that they are not able to host tournaments.
Greg Petry of Gewalt Hamilton Associates, who assisted the city in grant preparation, said that the grant is a great opportunity for the city and there is a great potential for economic impact. He said that they will help the city give it their best shot to get the grant and move ahead with the project.
During the regular board meeting, Alderman Woodrow Street asked about the city’s share of the funding. City Administrator Tonya Flannery said that the funds would come from the TIF fund as well as some tourism funds.
Applications for this grant cycle are due July 31.
The board meeting itself would go quickly, with the six aldermen present (Tim Wright and Marilyn Sisson were absent) approving the minutes from the previous meeting and five other motions, including the submittal of an application for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant that was discussed during the public hearing.
The other motions were to approve the disbursement of a check from the Mack and Patricia Ritchie Endowment for Walton Park to the Litchfield Park District for riprap for Walton Park Lake, to approve a one year service contract with Stryker ProCare Services for the fire department at a cost of $4,188, to contract services with Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative for electrical services to Eagle Ridge Subdivision for a cost not to exceed $45,752.50 and to approve a facade grant application from Lindsay’s RC Hobbies for the property located at 407 North State Street for $14,700.
The facade grant will be for work on the side of the building that shared a wall with a recently torn down structure. The grant will cover approximately half of the total cost to tuck point and cover two exposed doors in the wall.
The only motion to have any dissension was the one regarding electrical services to the Eagle Ridge Subdivision, which passed 5-1, with Alderman Mark Brown voting no.