Washington allocates over $400,000 RAP tax to parks and arts groups – St George News


View of Washington City Hall, Washington City, Utah, July 14, 2022 | Photo by Truman Burgess, St. George News

THE CITY OF WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the Washington City Council distributed $411,000 to seven recreation, arts and parks tax fund applicants.

View of old light fixtures at Washington City Baseball Fields, Washington City, Utah, July 14, 2022 | Photo by Truman Burgess, St. George News

The city’s Department of Recreational Services requested the two largest RAP tax contributions, requesting $300,000 to remove existing streetlights and light fixtures on the baseball/softball complex’s main field and install new new streetlights and LED field lights.

Barry Blake, the recreation services representative, said the current lights pose a safety risk and are in dire need of replacement.

Councilman Kurt Ivie agreed with Blake.

“These ball diamonds have been the gemstone of the community for years,” Ivie said. “It’s just not bright enough to be safe, not only for ball players, but also for spectators of foul balls. Providing the best facilities and venues for our youth has always been a priority in Washington.

All council members agreed to help recreation services with light replacements, even donating an additional $30,000, or $330,000.

Recreation Services also requested $485,000 to build new pickleball courts. Blake said Washington City residents are eager to get new pickleball diamonds built, but it’s not necessarily a need, unlike baseball field lighting replacements.

But council members were apparently unhappy with the second request.

Councilor Craig Coats found an issue with the location of the proposed pickleball courts, and Councilor Kimberly Casperson said she disagreed with the pickleball courts requiring passes for residents of the town.

The board denied Pickleball’s monetary claim entirely.

View of statues and future site of Malinda Covington, Washington City, Utah, July 14, 2022 | Photo by Truman Burgess, St. George News

Carmen Snow, a Washington City resident who plays the historic Malinda Covington at the Covington Mansion, has asked for $40,000 to make a life-size statue of Malinda Covington. The statue would be located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Telegraph Street and Main Street, on the pedestal overlooking the other four statues of historic men in the city of Washington.

“We think the women who have come here and settled in Washington have done so much,” Snow said. “(This statue) would be an honor for all those women who have given so much.”

The total cost is $55,000, but Snow said she’s already pledged $5,000 for the project, and she said she wants the community to raise $10,000 together so people have worked for the statue, rather than feeling like it was simply given to them.

“The community should feel ownership of this statue,” she said. “I think we have to work for the things we get, just like the (pioneer) ladies did.”

Jerry Anderson, a renowned bronze sculptor living in Silver Reef, Utah, 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 to be sold into slavery in California.

The Washington City Council unanimously agreed to give Snow the full $40,000.

View of statues and future site of Malinda Covington, Washington City, Utah, July 14, 2022 | Photo by Truman Burgess, St. George News

Mayor Kress Staheli said he hopes to unveil the Covington statue during the Cotton Days celebration next May, if the statue is complete by then.

The Red Rock Music Association, a nonprofit that supports local music, requested $5,000 in RAP funds to help pay for new sound equipment and instruments. Last year, Red Rock Music requested $3,500 for additional sound equipment. The group lends its equipment free of charge to local musicians.

The city council has decided to give 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 internal expenses, such as expanded outreach to educate young people about music and a small stipend the Southwest Orchestra pays its musicians.

Board members agreed to donate $10,000 to the Southwest Symphony Orchestra, half the amount requested.

The Washington City Arts Council requested $46,300 to help fund multiple exhibits and active community interaction. After some discussion, the city council decided to grant them $23,500.

“We want them to thrive, and we have skin to do that,” Ivie said.

The small Washington City Concert Band asked for $3,000 to help find a place for the band to practice, as well as expenses to secure venues to perform in Washington City.

The group received $4,000 instead of the $3,000 to help the small group grow.

The board assesses RAP tax disbursements every six months.

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