Macomb 91.3fm - Galesburg 90.7fm Keokuk 89.5fm - Burlington 106.3fm
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Possible Change In Spring Lake Park Management

TSPR's Emily Boyer

The Macomb City Council could turn to the private sector for help managing operations at Spring Lake Park.

The city owns the park and has contracted with the Macomb Park District to manage and maintain it since 1999.

But the contract is up at the end of the year. The park district says it won't agree to a new contract unless the city increases its operations budget for the park from $75,000 a year to $120,000. The park district also keeps all revenue generated by the facility which was about $55,000 in 2013.

Mayor Mike Inman said during this week's Committee of the Whole meeting that this is a good time to consider alternative options.

“It was our desire to do our due diligence and see where we actually stood in the open market so to speak to see if we are asking too much of them [the park district] for what we are paying," Inman said. "Not that we were thinking the information they were sharing was not credible."

The city council agreed to solicit RFPs (Request for Proposals) from anyone interested in taking over the responsibility.

“The way this would work is that the private sector contractor would be in charge of the campgrounds facility, the concession stands, boat and dock rentals, and the hunting programs at Spring Lake,” said City Administrator Dean Torreson.         

The city also owns a small home at Spring Lake Park that could allow the private contractor to live on site. However, Torreson said, the space requires about $20,000 worth of upgrades. He said it needs new appliances and carpeting, and mold must be removed from the basement.

“It would be a place for a manager, husband and wife team, or whatever to live out there rent free, utility free, and tax free," Torreson said. "That would be part of the compensation for a campground manager.”

Proposals need to be turned into the city by October 10, 2014. 

Torreson said aldermen could also consider creating a new city department called buildings and grounds. It  could manage operations at Spring Lake Park and local cemeteries, plus oversee janitorial services for the city.

Aldermen plan to wait until after the RFP deadline to make a decision. Mayor Inman said the solution could very well be a hybrid of the options.


Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.