QUINCY -- The 50-day period has started to collect any public comments on renaming Riverview Park on Quincy's northwest side after the late Ben Bumbry.
The Quincy Park Board on Wednesday agreed to start the process to rename the park "Ben Bumbry Riverview Park" after the longtime civic leader. This means commissioners would be able to finalize the change at their Aug. 8 Park Board meeting.
Bumbry, 86, who died May 10, was the first African-American elected to the Quincy Park Board and the Quincy City Council. He served on the Park Board from 1993 to 2003 and on the City Council from 2004 to 2011.
Bumbry also taught and coached at Quincy Public Schools, and served as director of the Redmon and Lee Community Center and the Jackson-Lincoln Swimming Complex. He also performed throughout the area with his band, Ben Bumbry and the Messengers, for more than 60 years.
Commissioner John Frankenhoff, the only remaining member of the Park Board who served with Bumbry, said he remembered how Bumbry fought to rebuild Indian Mounds Pool in the early 2000s.
"Ben really wanted that pool," Frankenhoff said. "He thought the kids deserved it."
Former Mayor Chuck Scholz encouraged the board to rename the park after Bumbry.
"If you look at his career of service and what he was able to accomplish, he really is a historic figure in the history of Quincy," Scholz said.
Commissioners on Wednesday also approved a plan that would build two T-ball and softball fields where the former Wavering Aquatic Center stood.
District staff estimated that it will cost $105,000 for the work, which would include adding a playground for children ages 2 to 5 and ballfield fencing and bleachers, and remodeling the restrooms -- the former pool's bathhouse.
Director of Program Services Mike Bruns said the new fields would help parents who have multiple children playing at different levels so they don't have to travel between different parks.
"I just see our baseball and softball program continuing to grow as it is," Bruns said.
The district estimates it will save an estimated $700 in wages by not having crews preparing the T-ball field at Johnson Park five days a week during the summer.
Work is expected to start on the new field this fall, with plans to be open them by next summer.
The board also approved the low bid of $270,800 from Trotter General Contracting for the replacement of the fountain at Clat Adams Bicentennial Park.
The fountain, which was installed in 1992, has cracks in the basin, and the motors and pumps no longer operate correctly.
Executive Director Rome Frericks said staff has had to add water to the fountain each day this summer to keep the fountain operating.
The Park District sought design changes to the project in February after bids for the project came in more than $100,000 over the $260,000 estimate. The new design still allows Park District staff to remove parts of the fountain in the event of flooding.
Frericks said the additional $10,800 will come from leftover funds in the district's annual capital project bond.
The Park Board also learned that the district will be able to upgrade to LED lighting throughout the district.
The project would cost $381,747, with $211,963 paid by Ameren Illinois as a utility incentive. The rest of the cost is being fronted by Constellation Energy, which will start providing the district with electricity in October 2020.
Director of Business Services Don Hilgenbrinck said the project should lower the district's energy use by nearly 26 percent, with the savings being used to pay for the upgrades over seven years.