City Council Sees Latest Police Station Design; Discusses Whether to Limit Gaming in City


Published on October 19 2016 9:56 am
Last Updated on October 19 2016 9:56 am
Written by Greg Sapp


Effingham City Council members Tuesday discussed the latest designs for a police station, and also discussed whether they want a limit placed on gaming in the city.

Emily Spindler, an Effingham native working for design group FGM Architects on the project, shared that the design is for a 26,480 square foot facility to be located immediately south of City Hall. The plan remains to relocate the police department into the basement of City Hall, take down the existing police station, and then build the new facility on that same location.

Spindler same the budget for the project is still on target. The goal is to wrapup design plans a little after Thanksgiving, and hope to put the project out for bids in April.

The Council also authorized the issuance of revenue bonds to finance the police station project. John Vezzetti of Bernardi Security is handling the bond sale. Vezzetti said the City's AA-, or superior, rating should lead to an interest rate of 2.6% or 2.7% for 20 years. A hearing on the bond issue will take place in December, and Vezzetti is hopeful the City will have its money in late January.

Also Tuesday, the Council discussed whether to limit the number of gaming establishments in Effingham.

The discussion was an outgrowth of a request by the developers of Bella's Bistro, an Italian food and wine sales business that would like to locate in a mall at 1302 Avenue of Mid America near Payless Shoes. The facility also desires to have gaming.

Commissioner Merv Gillenwater said he remembers at an earlier meeting that the developers said they would not have gaming, but they said at Tuesday's meeting that they do have plans for gaming. Gillenwater accused the developer of lying about the matter, and others indicated they had heard at the earlier meeting the same thing Gillenwater heard.

Commissioner Kevin Willis said his issue is whether the City wants to place a limit on gaming establishments. He and Mayor Jeff Bloemker each said the mayor should not have to consider gaming in deciding liquor license issues. Bloemker said he did not want to be the "gaming commissioner" for Effingham. Willis said he didn't care either way, but said he'd like there to be a guideline in place, one way or the other. City Attorney Tracy Willenborg will research the issue. In the meantime, a decision on issuing a liquor license to Bella's Bistro was tabled.

Also Tuesday:

--the Council met new telecommunicator Jordan Ping, a Newton native

--the Council approved a Downtown/Southtown redevelopment project plan for renovating the exterior of A-1 Food Mart at 4th and Fayette with the city and the developer splitting the cost

--the Council appointed Commissioners Don Althoff and Kevin Willis to an Employee Classification and Compensation Committee to determine the classification of new hires

--the Council learned that a proposed tax levy for the new fiscal year would be .057% higher than what was extended for taxes last year, about $25,000 more in total

--the Council heard from Tom Henderson on a Downtown/Southtown redevelopment project for Dairy Queen on South Banker. The $400,000 project including land acquisition to the north includes $70,200 in exterior renovations that could be split between the City and the developer

--the Council reviewed the Mette Partnership Subdivision, which involves plans for a 9,600 square foot addition to Mette's Cabinet Corner on South Route 45

--the Council reviewed a special use permit planned for National Trail Development for a brew pub to be located in the middle building at the train station, and rezoning of land at 2301 North Raney for the Meijer project

--the Council heard from City Planner Jeremy Heuerman that roadway improvements on the South 3rd Street project from Fayette to south of the CSX Railroad crossing has been delayed until work can be completed on numerous sewers in the area of the project

--the Council heard from City Administrator Jim Arndt that work is moving ahead on a residential housing incentive program to encourage building within the city limits

--the Council also heard from Heuerman about the receipt of more than $900,000 in grant funds to move ahead with striping for bike lanes and construction of a larger parking area at the trailhead at the TREC Trail off Outer Belt West