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Carbondale Park District Board

Carbondale park board discusses vaccine mandate, slain SIU freshman tree memorial

Carbondale Park District (copy)

Children play in the spray from a Carbondale Fire Department truck in Attucks Park in July 2019 in Carbondale during a Chill Out in the Park event put on by the Carbondale Park District. 

The Carbondale Park District Board on Monday night discussed changes to its COVID-19 protocols, namely a vaccine mandate for employees.

During its virtual meeting, the board also approved the soliciting of bids for its general obligation bonds and suggested names of the two fields within the city's first dog park.

Commissioner Jane Adams said the mandate should be similar to state rules for educators. Employees would have the choice to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, or more frequent testing if there was an outbreak.

“Who’s paying for testing?” Commissioner Carl Flowers asked.

The board discussed the issue of pay, time off for testing and exemptions. They agreed that employees who don’t want to take the vaccine should get tested on their own time and pay any out-of-pocket costs for testing. Employees who receive a medical exemption could be tested on work time.

They also discussed documentation for exemptions and storing vaccine verification.

No action was taken. A special meeting will be called for Monday, Sept. 20 to discuss and approve the mandate.

The park district board also voted to solicit bids for general obligation bonds. A short hearing was held at the beginning of the board’s meeting.

Carbondale Park District intends to issue approximately $640,470 in general obligation limited tax park bonds in 2021, with a final maturity in 2022. The park district anticipates a 1.40 percent inflationary adjustment to the district’s non-referendum bond and interest property tax levy to pay these bonds when compared to the prior year’s levy, according to Trey Anderson, interim executive director of the park district.

The anticipated issue will be the only series of bonds secured by a direct property tax levy for the 2021 levy year, and will count against the $3 million in bonding authority authorized under the Bond Issue Notification Act.

Anderson said the park district does this every year to do maintenance and improvements to district properties.

Carbondale City Councilman Lee Fronabarger asked what the cost would be to taxpayers. Anderson said it would be $8,700.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou announce expansion of childcare assistance. READ MORE HERE.

Gail Robinson, secretary of Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks' executive board, presented the park district board with names for the two dog fields within the planned dog park.

The group granted naming rights to two large donors. Glenn and Jo Poshard, who donated $10,000 in December 2020, were given naming rights to the large dog play area. It will be known as Jane Adams Large Dog Field.

“It all started in Jane’s living room in 2016,” Robinson said, adding that Adams has spearheaded the project and put a lot of energy into getting funding for the dog park.

Kirsten Trimble, who donated $5,000 to the project, was given naming rights to the small dog play area. It will be known as Russlind Small Dog Field, after Trimble’s father.

The park district board approved the recommended names of the play areas, with Adams and Trimble abstaining from voting.

The overall dog park name must include SafePets, the organization that awarded the group $25,000 to build the dog park. Robinson said they were considering something like Carbondale Community Dog Park with SafePets worked into the name.

That final name has not been decided.

The board also:

  • Approved planting a tree in one of the parks in memory of Keeshanna Jackson, the SIU freshman who was fatally shot at a house party Aug. 22.
  • Signed a maintenance agreement for the Kopper’s Memorial. The memorial is scheduled to be revealed Oct. 2.
  • Heard a presentation about Natural Playscapes. Natural Playscapes uses materials found in nature to create play structures for children. The board discussed created such an area to replace the old playground at Life Community Center.

Editor's note: This story was changed to correct information about the park district's bond levy for 2021.

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