The Chillicothe City Council gave the green light to more assistance for downtown building owners at Monday night's meeting.


The Chillicothe City Council gave the green light to more assistance for downtown building owners at Monday night's meeting.

The council approved spending $3,500 for architect Tom McMorrow to work with downtown building owners on ideas for their storefronts to all tie together under a theme.

The motion was tabled at the last regular council meeting, with aldermen expressing thoughts of not having the work done underneath the contract of Tom Tincher, in case the council terminated his consulting contract.

The aldermen approved allowing his contract to continue at a special meeting Wednesday at Pearce Community Center.

Tincher and the mayor’s advisory committee for riverfront development suggested the riverfront be an anchor to Chillicothe’s downtown, assisting in bringing visitors to the area.

Tincher has retained McMorrow’s architectural services for past projects in communities such as Sullivan and Havana.

Once five architectural renderings are made, economic development director Lisa Burnett said, funding may be available through programs to aid the integrity of the buildings and new plumbing and electrical work, as well as the façades.

The city’s Project Facelift assisted owners in fixing their building’s façades in the past, but allowed businesses to update as they saw fit.

Related to the motion, aldermen Chris Boyer and Rich Underwood said they each received a letter from a Ward 3 resident who did not want the council to spend the $3,500 for the façade improvement of the downtown, saying that she did not want them “cookie cutter.”

The money spent on the program will use Tax Increment Financing funds, and Underwood said they will not look “cookie-cutter,” but will give them a turn-of-the-century theme.

In other items, the council:

• heard alderman Troy Childers Sr. ask about a possible shortfall of city funds due to income tax funds possibly being cut by Gov. Rod Blagojevich. City office manager Denise Passage said the Illinois Municipal League is fighting the possibility and wants communities’ support. She added that the city’s income and sales taxes are coming in a little higher than anticipated. Overall, for the second quarter, funds are looking good, but the third quarter may be when funds are not as strong.

• heard alderman Mel Witte ask if it would be wise to have city engineer Ken Coulter research the two water mains the city officials want to replace, as President-elect Barack Obama announced possible plans of aiding infrastructure improvements in the country. Mayor Gary Fyke said in the past, those who have plans for work usually are at the top when project funds become available.

• accepted the street and utility improvements, except for lighting and sidewalks, for Section 2 of RiverSound Subdivision

• approved an ordinance restating the employee deferred compensation plan. Employee relations committee chairman Underwood said the updated plan gets the city into the 21st century.

• and approved Christmas bonuses for city employees — full-time, $200; part-time, $100; and seasonal, $50.