City Council Moves Forward on Street Improvement Projects

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Published on April 15 2014 11:30 pm
Last Updated on April 15 2014 11:30 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham City Council members Tuesday agreed to move ahead with three street improvement projects.

The Council heard from City Engineer Jeremy Heuerman that they'll take bids on the reconstruction of Douglas Avenue from Park to 5th Streets on April 29.  The area involved runs along the north side of South Side School.

The Council voted to hire Milano and Grunloh of Effingham for preliminary engineering services on an extension of Thies Avenue along John Boos and Company.  Commissioner Don Althoff voted No.  Althoff said during an earlier discussion that the project might have qualified for grant funding had the City received a quicker response from Boos officials on getting the grant request submitted.

The Council also contracted with Milano and Grunloh for preliminary engineering on the final phase of Blohm Avenue, involving paving work from Veterans Drive to Red Oak Street.

There was also approval given to an agreement with Milano and Grunloh for street resurfacing on the streets in Collins Subdivision.

Council members approved the budget for the fiscal year that begins May 1, which City officials say is a balanced budget, and also approved a five-year capital improvements plan for 2015 through 2019.

The Council approved appointments to several boards and committees for the new fiscal year.  Those include:

--Jerry Steppe to another three-year term on the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners

--Jeff Bloemker, Martin Stock and Mark Thies to additional three-year terms on the City Plan Commission

--Jeff Bloemker and Kurt Buehnerkemper to additional five-year terms on the Zoning Board of Appeals

--Matthew Greider and Bill Myers to the Helen Matthes Library Board and Danielle Harden, John Latta and Charlene Topel to additional three-year terms on the library board

The Council approved a development agreement with Dan Hecht Chevrolet, Incorporated for infrastructure improvements at the site of a new NAPA store along South Banker Street next to Nuxoll Food Center to replace the current location on East Fayette Avenue.  Council members also approved the purchase of property on which to locate a sewage lift station along West Rickelman Avenue.

The Council rezoned land at 804 West Grove Avenue from single-family residence district to attached single family residence district.  The property is to be developed by Bushue Property Management.  The site formerly housed a treated water storage facility.  It was also agreed to seek quotes on chemicals needed at the water treatment plant, and to vote next time on an agreement with Civil Design, Inc. to design removal of a direct connect storm sewer from a sanitary sewer along Clinton Avenue and along Mulberry Street.

Council members agreed to move ahead with plans for sidewalk replacement.  The budget for sidewalks is only a third of what was budgeted last year due to the loss of TIF state sales tax revenue as of the end of 2013.

The Council also discussed offering a $150,000 job creation grant to Pinnacle Foods.  The firm is hoping to expand and lease space in the Dial and Dial Properties complex on the former Fedders site.  The company wants to lease 88,300 square feet of space in the complex.  The firm would have to maintain a certain number of employees, both for some assembly work of food displays and for warehousing.  The firm would receive $50,000/year for three years.  City Economic Development Director Todd Hull said with the Pinnacle expansion and the demolition of unusable portions of the former Fedders plant, there will only be 70,000 square feet of available space remaining in the complex.  Hull said the demolition cleanup is to be completed by month's end.

Council members agreed to vote next meeting on extending an agreement with Koerner Distributor, which plans to relocate to a new facility in the Business Park, but had to delay the project.  The Council seemed agreeable with extending the agreement another year, while retaining the right to buy back the tract at the same price if the project doesn't proceed.