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QUINCY – Rome Frericks received a call early Monday morning that he was not prepared for.

“It was the famous 6:30 a.m. call from the contractor,” Frericks said.

Representatives of Diamond Construction informed Frericks, executive director of the Quincy Park District, and Matt Higley, director of park services, that when they began milling in the parking lot of the 22-acre Paul Dennis Soccer Complex, 4201 State, they discovered that the subgrade did not look as it should.

“When they started milling 1.5 inches (from the surface of the asphalt parking lot) as they were supposed to, they immediately hit clay,” Frericks said. “So they went back to 1.5 inches, and still barely hit any rock. We ran six different test sites with their excavator and concluded that the entire parking lot had less than 2 inches of subgrade. Normal parking lots have to have 8 to 10 inches.”

According to Frericks, the problem arose in 1990 when the parking lot was constructed. The seven-bay complex was inaugurated on September 22, 1990.

The Quincy Park Board voted in March to spend $295,000 on milling and repaving work in the Paul Dennis parking lot and $19,495 to replace a culvert leading to the parking lot.

The park district had two days to decide how and at what cost to fix the problem.

The answer was announced during the park board meeting on Wednesday.

The remaining millings and existing rocks will be dug up and left on the surface so the additional rocks can be compacted. An additional 4 to 6 inches of gravel will be placed before two new layers of asphalt are laid to complete the project. The total cost of the additional work is $397,765.

The park board has decided not to spend $208,800 earmarked for resurfacing Moorman Road on two new T-ball fields, but instead use the money for the Paul Dennis project. The remaining $188,965 will come from the park district’s corporate reserves.

“It was literally an emergency. All hands on deck, red alert,” park board chairman Mark Philpot said Monday of Frericks’ call. “It’s the second week of July. In a minute it’s going to be too late to do anything there, to break ground. We’re not going to be able to set anything in stone, nothing. So, yeah, we had to strike while the iron was hot.”

“Fortunately, Brian (Earnest, director of business services) and the guys were able to raise the funding and make this miracle happen within 48 hours without me having any other choice. My main concern was not to burden the taxpayers.”

However, this will impact people trying to park at the two T-ball fields in the Wavering/Moorman complex next year. A dirt parking lot on the west side of Moorman Road should be converted into an additional parking space.

“That (parking) is another priority because it supports another big project, the Qtown Tournaments,” Philpot said. “I don’t want it to seem like we’re reacting to this crisis and then not addressing future projects. (The Paul Dennis project change) was thrown in our laps. The next goal is to find funding somewhere else where we can still make (parking for the T-ball fields) feasible.”

Commissioner John Frankenhoff said it was “unfortunate” that the park district had to spend so much money on an unplanned expense, but he thought it was important to get the job done.

“This facility has to be functional and top-notch to be on par with the other parks we’ve had for many years,” he said. “We have to swallow that pill and just say, ‘Let’s make this facility the best it can be,’ even though it hurts to have to deal with this unexpected increase in two days.”

“The best analogy I can think of is when you take your car in for repairs and (mechanics) look at it and tell you, ‘We can fix it for $250.’ Then they call you six hours later and say, ‘We found something else and it’s another $200 cost.’ You don’t like that. It’s annoying. It’s on the money. It can affect next month’s budget. But to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape, you accept it, just pay it and bite the bullet, so to speak. That’s our position right now. We have to keep doing it. This shop is going to be very busy, very active, for the next few years. In the long run, that unexpected expense is going to be just a blip on the radar.”

Frericks said he does not expect any further underground work to be required on the property.

“The water lines are good. The sewer lines are good,” he said. “Next year we’re going to bring some ideas to the board about building a playground right next to the concession stand/shelter. That way, people in the southeast part of town will have a playground nearby. We’re also looking to budget about $40,000 to patch some caulking on the restroom, do some painting and make some minor improvements to the shelter.”

Frericks said work on the parking lot will begin Thursday and take about 2.5 weeks. He expects the facility to be completed in time for the Park District to offer recreational soccer and flag football leagues there in the fall.

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