The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Park and Tourism Committee makes requests at Oquawka Village Board

By Sally Day, The Quill

Members of the Oquawka's Parks and Tourism Committee were on hand at the village board meeting, March 2, 2015. Susan Meyers, Chairman of this committee spoke to the board about where the committee had come from and where they were going.

She explained that the committee had been "formed several months ago to develop a plan to enhance the facilities and activities in Oquawka."

Meyers continued, "In the Spring of 2014, several members developed and submitted a grant application to help fund the playground project to be constructed West of the pool."

An Open House was held in November of 2014, which conveyed to the public many of the things the committee is attempting to accomplish. They handed out two surveys.

The first was for community members to offer choices of names for the many parks throughout Oquawka.

The second was to ask citizens their opinion on facilities needed for the community.

The names were as follows: Indian Park, at the former track; Yellow Banks, near the Galesburg Well; Horseshoe Park, behind the newspaper office; Melvin Park (in honor of the hours of dedication Rosalee Melvin and her late husband, Andy, have given to the community) at the Museum; Oquawkiek Park, (the Indian name for Yellow Banks) near the Hub Restaurant; and Norma Jean (honoring the location of where the circus elephant is buried after being struck by lightning) near the pool.

Meyers said they would like to name the parks and have permission to erect wooden signs at these locales. Plans are for the signs to be similar to those at Delabar Park. The board told the committee they needed to speak with Kenny John, the Zoning Officer, and together they could figure out where the signs needed to be placed.

Also, amongst the committee's goals are to develop a brochure, which maps out all the parks, along with Oquawka businesses, amenities and programs. The group also plans on building and maintaining the playground equipment at the Norma Jean Park and to build and maintain kitchen, picnic and band facilities at Indian Park. They would also like to develop campsites on village property (which was designated village property following the 1993 Flood).

The board passed a resolution giving permission for the committee to adopt this plan, and to convert the committee to an implementation committee. The resolution also provides for the village to set up a separate account for fund raising, possible grant monies, donations, and project expenditures. This motion passed.

They requested Oquawka Board Chairman Sandra Moody sign off on this. The group asked that a board member from the village sit on their committee. Nancy Bundy is currently filling that position.

The committee told the board they will not ask the village for any monies, they will establish fund raisers and ask for donations. They will also try to obtain grant monies.

Meyers thanked the community for their efforts, as well as Connie McKillip, Unit Coordinator for Community Development from the University of Illinois.

In other business, the board: