Posted Online: March 16, 2010, 10:19 pm

Silvis aldermen hear Schadt Park safety concerns

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By Seth Kabala, correspondent@qconline.com

SILVIS -- Safety concerns surfaced Tuesday night at the city council meeting.

Amy Mitton, a 14th Street resident, addressed the council about the March 11 stabbing near the Schadt Park basketball courts. The mother of six said she is concerned for the safety of her children and others in the area. Her husband, a firefighter and paramedic, is concerned about retaliation.

"I just really want to know what we can do as a community -- what's gonna happen, what we're doing now," she said.

Mayor Bill Fox said the city can serve a notification of a ban to individuals causing problems at the park. If they return, the individuals can be arrested. He added that police will increase patrols of the park, but if the problem persists, the council might remove the basketball courts as they did on Hero Street.

The proposal drew applause from the handful of audience members.

"Residents in this town care, and they call," said Silvis Police chief Bill Brasche. He noted the first responding officer reached the scene within one minute and an arrest was made within three. Second-shift patrols are being increased in the wake of the stabbing, he said, noting the Schadt Park area has prompted approximately 21 calls in the last 18 months about fights, disturbances or domestics.

"Many of those are basketball-court related," he said.

Ald. Bob Cervantes, 1st Ward, parks and recreation chairman, said he opposes removing the basketball courts. Those causing trouble just will move to another location, he said.

"I think we just need to allow the police department to do their job, and we'll see where it goes," he said. "Let's not fan the fire."

In other business, Mayor Fox told council members that Gov. Pat Quinn's budget proposals would strip $180,000 from the city's budget next year and force layoffs.

"What he's wanting to do is gonna cripple us," said Mayor Fox, adding the 1 percent income tax increase Quinn has proposed is only for schools. Gov. Quinn wants to take 3 percent away from the 10 percent of income tax receipts the city normally gets, Mayor Fox said. That would reduce Silvis' receipts to about $54 per capita.

"If they take this money away from us, they're gonna force us into layoffs. That's all there is to it," he said.

Aldermen on Tuesday also approved a bid of $34,361 from Sieman Water Technology for a new aerator at the 12th Street water treatment plant. City administrator Jim Grafton said the old aerator bought in 1965 has developed leaks.