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Posted on Jul 1, 2019

Port hears business owner’s concerns about crime

Rob Sole, owner of Chet’s Honda Polaris in Quincy, spoke about an “explosion of property crime” at the June 12 meeting of the board of commissioners of the Port of Quincy. He said his business has been hit eight times since March.
His remarks were similar to what he told the Quincy City Council recently. Burglaries make it difficult for him to do business in Quincy, he said, and complacency about the level of property crime blunts the community’s progress.
“It’s got to change. It’s got to get fixed,” Sole said. It’s “the last great hurdle that Quincy has to get over to make this a really great place to be.”
He says a full complement of officers patrols town during the day, but only two patrol at night.
“It’s a broken system,” he said.
Despite his poignant remarks to the City Council on May 7, he told Port commissioners the crime problem is not getting fixed.
“We still have minimal officers at night,” he said. “The mayor, the council … they are just not getting it.”
Commissioner Curt Morris replied, “We agree. You gotta get control of this crime, one way or another.”
Commissioner Brian Kuest asked whether Sole had a specific wish of what should be done. Sole replied he is willing to pony up some money for security guards, but, he said, he is generating a lot of sales tax for the city but not getting the services.
Sonia Padron, a member of the City Council, was at the Port meeting and joined in the discussion.
Morris said Quincy has been good over the years about solving its challenges and Port commissioners have looked at the crime question. The Port has studied creating its own police force but found that its police force could patrol only the Port’s properties.
Property crime happens across Grant County but it is a low priority and suspects are being turned loose, Morris said.
Following extended discussion of ideas, Morris concluded with, “Duly noted. It’s up to us to work with the council. Let’s figure it out.”

Golf course
Moving on to Colockum Ridge Golf Course, commissioners discussed a proposal to install new carpet in the clubhouse. A men’s golf club had offered to donate half the cost of the estimated $2,800 for carpet. Kuest motioned to put up to $2,000 toward carpet, take $1,400 from the club and see about doing the installation now and at night, rather than wait for the busy season to pass. Installation at night was expected to cost more. The motion passed.
Commissioners also discussed the possibility of acquiring more golf carts. More are needed for the larger tournaments.
And, Catalina Blancas has begun marketing efforts for the golf course. She said she has started an Instagram page for the course already.

Wine tasting room
Returning to the Port board, LeeAnnette Fortier did a presentation on the idea of creating a community wine tasting room. At her prior appearance, commissioners asked her assess interest from local wineries.
“We have six wineries that would be interested,” Fortier said.
She said wineries had agreed to sell at wholesale prices to the tasting room. Participating wineries would not be charged a fee for having their wines at the tasting room.
Commissioner Patric Connelly expressed his opinion that it would be better to show the wine tasting room idea works first and not build a specific space for it yet.
Fortier said she has abandoned the idea of automated pour machines. They cost $10,000 each, she said. But a refrigerator to store 72 bottles would be a needed purchase.
The Port commissioners spent a lot of time discussing the tasting room idea and concluded with the plan to confer with the Chamber of Commerce and think about it more.

Other matters
• Port commissioners discussed Industrial Park 2 and Park 4.
• The board authorized a pay estimate for Stetner Electric’s work on lights at Industrial Park 5 and declared acceptance of the project as complete.
• The water line in George has been put through under Highway 281, and the line was being tested that week.
• Kuest reported on meetings regarding the industrial wastewater discharge and hospital meetings.
• Morris spoke about what it would take to prepare a part of the intermodal facility yard to handle additional shipping containers that the Port might get with new business.

By Dave Burgess, news@qvpr.com