April 23, 2014

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Decimal point creates conflict PDF Print E-mail

The swimming pool election was a success, 1,188 to 627, but there was opposition as was taken from a page in the Beardstown Park District History:
This is a personal story regarding the friendship of Alford Dick and Roy Roberts, yet it also includes a big part of the history of the Beardstown Park District History.
Roy and Christine Roberts lived on a farm out on the Chandlerville Road; Christine had lived there all her life, and after the war, she and Roy had lived there with their family since 1946. The Alford Dick farm was an immediate neighbor to the Roberts’ farm. Christine’s parents, Chris and Olga Kuhlmann, had been very close friends with Alfred and Lucille Dick. The ladies played in the same bridge club and the men exchanged farm machinery with each other.
In 1928 Christine became very sick with pneumonia, and it being prior to the new medicines that were developed during World War II, she would lay in bed, needing constant care by placing cold cloths on her to keep her fever under control.
Alford Dick would come over and spend the nights taking care of Christine so that her parents could get some rest. This friendly offer was very much appreciated, and the family always believed it helped save Christine’s life as she eventually recovered.
Twenty-six years later in 1954, Roy was a young Jaycee, and very interested in getting a swimming pool for Beardstown and to do what was necessary to do that. It was necessary to organize a Beardstown Park District. When this was happening there were a number of farm wives who offered to help by making calls to encourage their neighbors to vote yes for the Park District. Those ladies included Mrs. Al Dick, Mrs. Charles Unland, Mrs. Donald Bins, Mrs. A.T. Dunn, Mrs. Ben Hager, Mrs. Harry Knight and many others. Everyone seemed to be for the Park District and getting a swimming pool for Beardstown. The vote passed with an amazing 5 to 1 vote for the Park District.                        It was then time to have a vote for the swimming pool as that was the reason why there was a Park District election first.
A pamphlet explaining what a Park District was and what it would cost was sent to all rural homes. John Musgrove, with Roy Roberts, conducted a hearing at Brick School, and never was there any opposition that was uttered. The school district became the boundary and the date was set for the vote on the swimming pool bond issue which amounted to $110,000.
Apparently Alford Dick kept dwelling about the cost to the farmers and he mistakenly put the decimal point in the wrong place. It actually was going to cost him with his farm ground approximately $30, per year for ten years. That was the same additional taxes that it would cost the Roy Roberts’ for their farm property. Alford Dick, by having the decimal point in the wrong place, figured that it was going to cost him $300 per year for ten years and that a farmer paying $3,000 for a swimming pool for Beardstown was ridiculous.
Without consulting Roy Roberts or any of the other Park Board Members, Alford took it upon himself to park his truck at the Bluff Springs Elevator, and as each farmer would drive in to deliver their soybeans, he would tell them that their taxes were really going to go up and that they should be sure to vote no for the swimming pool.
Alford was a well-liked and respected farmer and had lived on the farm all of his life. There was no reason for the farmers not to believe Alford Dick. The vote in Beardstown was 1,171 for the swimming pool to 397 against the swimming pool. The vote at Brick School was 17 for the swimming pool and 230 against the swimming pool.
Alford and the 230 who voted against the swimming pool didn’t realize that if they were each taxed the $3,000 it would amount to $690,000 in ten years or more than five times the amount the bond issue was voted for.
Mr. Alford Dick, after seeing how the vote went, traveled to Virginia and hired Attorney C. G. Colburn to take the case to prevent the Beardstown Park District from.using a bond issue to build a swimming pool. Mr. Colburn agreed to do that for a sum of $20 from each of over 200 farmers. The Beardstown newspaper came out with big print headlines:
AL DICK, ET AL VS ROY ROBERTS, ET AL”
To be continued....