Renovation work planned at Sesqui Building

by Patty Cheffey

Although around $90,000 has been raised to renovate the Sesquicentennial Building, more money and more time will be needed before work can begin.

The renovation of the Sesquicentennial Building was the project adopted by the Bicentennial Committee to use funds generated through events and the sale of bicentennial items.

The major plans at the building are to expand the kitchen area and make it a commercial kitchen so the building can be used for a variety of events.

However, at this time, the park board has left it as whatever funds are generated is the work that will be done.

But renovation of the kitchen area is needed if the facility is to be used for larger events.

“It’s not set up to accommodate large equipment,” said Doug Meyers, park and recreation director. 

While earlier plans were to possibly add an addition to the building, that proved to be too costly. Instead, Meyers said, the current plans are to knock out the north wall of the existing kitchen area and expand it into what is now the serving area.

“We’ve seen a plan, but no costs information,” said Meyers, who admitted that once COVID hit and the park temporarily shut down, the idea got put on the back burner. “Then we got into the spring and summer sports seasons, and we had other things to do.

“Now, however, would be a good time to get back into planning for that.”

Once the kitchen area is expanded, the plans are to install large commercial equipment, including a stove, refrigerator and dish washer. 

While the park board has been looking into costs, nothing has been set yet for those items.

“The benefit is that as a city park, we can use the government surplus supplies,” said Meyers, noting those supplies can mean used items at a greatly reduced price. “The problem, of course, is that all depends on timing.”

And funds, as there are no grants available to be used for such a project, Meyers said.

“The park board talked about doing some type of fund-raising, such as a breakfast once a month, but, of course, we don’t have the room to do that,” he said.

What will really hurt, he added, is the fact the park will have pay prevailing wage for any work done on the Sesquicentennial Building. 

“That’s what’s going to kill us,” he said.

While the Sesquicentennial Building has priority, other work is needed at the parks as well, including the restoration of the Big Spring cabin as the roof leaks, the foundation needs repairs and the whole building needs tuck pointed.

“We used to be able to call Eldon Taylor and he knew how to do the repair work,” said Meyers. “Now I just need to find someone who knows what they are doing with old cabins.”

While he did reach out to someone who currently builds cabins, that person was not interested in working on the Big Springs cabin.

“I have reached out to the Quincy Park District for contact information, but haven’t heard back from them yet,” he added.

In addition, with the increase in traffic at the park, the roadways are in need of work, Meyers said.

“We have the big projects under control, but we have continued maintenance,” he said, noting the city’s Street Department will be doing the work.

“We don’t know any costs yet, but with the amount of people we have out here, we need something done.

“It’s nuts,” said Meyers of the number of people who use the park, not just on weekends, but every day of the week. “With two disk golf courses now and with people who are just taking walks on the trails, it’s crazy. And it’s all day long as we have our retired older generation out here walking too.”

While some funds continue to trickle in from the sale of bicentennial items, more funds can always be used.

People who wish to donate to the park can do so by contacting Meyers or any member of the Park Board.

“What does help is when people donate to a specific project or specific item,” he said. “Otherwise it goes into the general fund. “Donations to playground equipment in the past have been really helpful.”