View of Washington City Hall, Washington City, Utah, July 14, 2022 | Photo by Truman Burgess, St. George News
WASHINGTON CITY — The Washington City Council distributed $411,000 to seven applicants for Recreation, Arts and Parks tax funds on Wednesday.
The city Leisure Services department requested the two largest contributions from the RAP Tax, asking for $300,000 in order to remove the existing light poles and fixtures at the main field of the baseball/softball complex and install new light poles and LED field lights.
Barry Blake, the Leisure Services representative, said the current lights pose a safety hazard and are in dire need of replacement.
Councilman Kurt Ivie agreed with Blake.
“These ball fields have been the gemstone of the community for years,” Ivie said. “It’s just not bright enough to be safe, not just for ball players, but also bystanders from foul balls. Providing the best equipment and venues for our youth has always been a priority in Washington City.”
All the council members agreed to aid Leisure Services in the light replacements, even giving an additional $30,000, summing up to $330,000.
Leisure Services also requested $485,000 to build new pickleball courts. Blake said Washington City residents are eager to have new pickleball courts built, but it’s not necessarily a need, unlike the baseball field light replacements.
But the council members were apparently not pleased with the second request.
Councilman Craig Coats found an issue with the location of the proposed pickleball courts, and Councilwoman Kimberly Casperson said she did not agree with the pickleball courts requiring city resident passes.
The council denied the pickleball monetary request entirely.
Carmen Snow, a Washington City resident who plays the historical Malinda Covington at the Covington Mansion, requested $40,000 for the crafting of a life-sized Malinda Covington statue. The statue would be located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Telegraph Street and Main Street, on the pedestal overlooking the other four statues of historical Washington City men.
“We feel that the women who came here and settled Washington did so much,” Snow said. “(This statue) would be an honor for all those women who gave so much.”
The full cost is $55,000, but Snow said she already has $5,000 pledged for the project, and she said she wants the community to raise $10,000 together so that the people have worked for the statue, rather than feeling like it was simply given to them.
“The community should feel some ownership of this statue,” she said. “I think we need to work for the things we get, just like the (pioneer) ladies did.”
Jerry Anderson, a renowned bronze sculptor living in Silver Reef, Utah, has agreed to sculpt the statue.
Malinda Covington raised nine children at home. She and her husband Robert adopted a Paiute Native American girl who was going to be sold into slavery in California.
The Washington City Council unanimously agreed to give Snow the full $40,000.
Mayor Kress Staheli said he hopes to unveil the Covington statue at the Cotton Days celebration next May, if the statue is completed by then.
Red Rock Music Association, a nonprofit music supporter of local music, requested $5,000 of RAP funds to help pay for new sound equipment and instruments. Last year, Red Rock Music asked for $3,500 for other sound equipment. The group lends their equipment for free to local musicians.
The city council settled on giving Red Rock Music the same amount as last year.
Southwest Symphony Orchestra Inc, a group of 70 local musicians, requested $20,000 to help pay for in-house expenses, such as extended outreach to educate youth about music and a small stipend Southwest Orchestra pays its musicians.
The council members agreed to give the Southwest Symphony Orchestra $10,000, half of the requested amount.
The Washington City Arts Council requested $46,300 to help fund multiple exhibits and active community interaction. After some discussion, the city council settled on bestowing $23,500 to them.
“We want them to flourish, and we have some skin to do that,” Ivie said.
The small Washington City Concert Band petitioned for $3,000 to help secure a place for the band to practice, as well as expenses to secure locations to perform in Washington City.
The group received $4,000 instead of the $3,000 to help the small group grow.
The council assesses RAP tax disbursements every six months.
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