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#DixonStrong Leadership Team Community Center Location Recommendation
#DixonStrong Leadership Team Community Center Location Recommendation
Margo Empen
Monday, October 14, 2019

We are sharing information from the #DixonStrong Leadership Team that was posted in the Telegraph this weekend.  Thank you #DixonStrong for allowing us to share your information with the Dixon Public School Family and Community.

October 11, 2019

Based on the initial findings of the Research Committee (RC) of the #DixonStrong Leadership Team (DSLT), we recommend that the Dixon Park District (DPD) and DSLT proceed in studying The Meadows Park Complex (Meadows) as the most advantageous location for the potential Community Center. The next steps should include engaging an engineering firm for a Site Development assessment and cost analysis of the location.

The Meadows is an existing DPD property with no additional cost to acquire (i.e. it is free). Meadows has an additional 40 acres of useable land to expand on beyond the 15 acres already being utilized by Wooden Wonderland (playground), Water Wonderland (splash pad), the soccer fields and field house, the roller hockey rink, and football field and facilities. There is an abundance of synergies with existing DPD amenities that would be enhanced by a community center acting as a centralized community hub. Meadows is pedestrian accessible from neighborhoods, and from the DPD bike path, with additional future access points available. To help ease traffic on Washington Avenue, a road from Brinton Avenue to Meadows could be constructed across existing DPD land. The Meadows has readily available access to infrastructure and utilities that will help keep construction costs lower.

Cons for building a Community Center at the Meadows included: 1) Increased traffic 2) Being located at the “far end” of one side of Dixon.  3) Safety of the facilities with recent vandalism of the soccer field house, however, that is not exclusive to that specific area (e.g. Riverfront vandalism).

Prior to recommending the Meadows location, the RC considered several locations throughout Dixon including, but not limited to, privately held land on the I-88 corridor location (I-88), a private downtown location, and property owned by Dixon Public Schools on Brinton Avenue (Brinton).  It is important to note that DPD would need a minimum of 40 acres of land for the community center complex, which would include the community center facility, parking, and outdoor athletic fields.  Properties located in the southwest side of Dixon were specifically researched.  No properties have the minimum land requirements.

The I-88 location could be ideal for a “sports-centric” facility, with very easy access for visiting teams, and other out of town guests. It however would not be pedestrian / neighborhood accessible, and could lose some of the Community Centric feel, regardless of programs and offerings. The I-88 location is privately held and is estimated to cost between $1.7million – $2 million for the desired acreage. 

The Brinton location could be good for community access, readily available infrastructure access, and has the most acreage of the sites considered (70). However, this property does not have the same synergies as the Meadows.  The Brinton location could possibly be bought from DPS or some form of trade / partnership agreement could be reached, but nothing has been formally discussed at this time.

The downtown location seems ideal for the community center location and accessibility. However, it’s limited size (3 acres), price (currently listing at 1.2 million) and location in a floodway (which restricts new construction to being on stilts), makes this a non-viable option.

In the recently concluded “2nd Survey”, the majority of “Concern” expressed by the public was related to cost. The Meadows location has the highest upside of having the lowest overall cost.

It is recommended that the #DixonStrong Leadership Team and the Dixon Park District remain open to other possible locations should they become viable options (potentially request the public to highlight any viable options). However, until such an option is presented, The Meadows is seen as the best current option.

In response to the #DixonStrong Research committee recommendation, Duane Long said, “We are excited about this preliminary location recommendation.  The primary purpose of this center is to serve our children first.  This location ties in perfectly to other park district services and is easily accessible for children to walk to or ride their bikes.”