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Colp village board approves playground proposal

Village board seeks to fill need for children in the community

Members of the board for the Village of Colp have been working together to enhance their community by creating a playground for children in Colp. 

COLP — After an hour of discussion, Colp Village Board approved an agreement with Colp Playground Committee to begin construction of a playground at its March 6 meeting.

The item was listed as old business on the agenda for the March 6 village board meeting. It was tabled at the Feb. 6 board meeting and two special meetings were held Feb. 10 and Feb. 15 to discuss the issue, but no action was taken.

Several issues were brought up at those meetings that needed to be satisfied by the playground committee, including: the village’s liability, cost of playground equipment, meeting requirements of insurance, storage of equipment prior to it being installed and safety.

Colp officials began talking about a playground and raising funds in fall 2014. Village President Delbert Spiller said in a phone interview on Wednesday that the project started because the village had pieces of playground equipment for some time that nobody had been able to get installed.

Colp Village Board Member Marcella Clark asked to look into getting a playground in town. A committee was formed with members from Colp and neighboring No. 9. The playground will be within walking distance of both communities.

The committee sent a letter to the Julia Harrison Bruce Foundation asking for help, and the foundation replied with a donation of $16,819. The committee got donations and help with fundraising from other businesses and organizations, raising nearly $51,000. The village of Colp holds $42,500 of the total. The remainder is held by Champion Community Investments, a registered not-for-profit 501c3 entity.

Since Spiller was absent from the meeting, Clark presided. When they got to old business, Clark called the playground project and handed copies of the agreement, budget and invoice from BYO for the equipment to board members and several others.

“I love my village, and I love the children here. Something good is going to come out of this. I am aksing you to read this and really take it into your hearts,” Clark said.

The agreement states the village will release $42,000 toward the total cost of the project and will not have any further financial obligation toward completion of the playground. The village also will store the equipment until it can be installed.

Champion Community Investments will pay $8,389.73 toward completion of the project and assume financial responsibility for the balance of the project, which will be an additional $8,389.73.

BYO Recreation agreed to discount the playground equipment 50 percent, giving the committee $42,822 worth of equipment for a cost of $21,411.

Dennis White, director of the Center for Business and Industry at John A. Logan College said volunteers from the Highway Construction Careers Training Program will install the playground. He was told the equipment had “a phenomenal warranty.” JALC volunteers have completed projects in Herrin City Park and Cannon Park in Carterville.

“We’re willing to help to make sure the project goes through,” White said.

Village board member Vanessa Sherrill made a motion to approve the proposal for the playground after a short discussion of a few minutes. Several community members wanted to speak, but could not because a motion was on the floor. When there was no second from remaining board members Alex Howell, Lesley Jackson and Skip Coffey, Village Clerk Tammy Howell declared the motion closed.

Lou Robinson and Mary Ann Duncan, both Colp residents, were allowed to speak on behalf of the playground at that time.

“We have everything we need to make this happen — money, volunteers and help, I’m not seeing the reason we can’t get this get this through,” Robinson said.

“When you display care for your children, others will begin to care,” Duncan said.

Sherrill asked what concerns other board members had. There were questions about the budget, warranty on the equipment installed by volunteers, liability of people installing equipment, whether or not the money was going into the right hands. The discussion went on for an hour, with the audience and board members yelling at one point. Village Treasurer Karen Apple looked up information about whether or not Clark could vote, since she was acting village president for the evening.

Coffey finally ended the discussion by making another motion to pass the agreement, pending the mayor’s signature. Sherrill seconded the motion. Sherril, Coffey and Clark voted in favor of the agreement. Howell voted no and Jackson abstained.

On Wednesday, Spiller said he signed the agreement. He also praised Clark and Duncan for their work on the project.

“I am pleased that Mrs. Clark has taken the project and gotten it this far,” he said.

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