Requests made for downtown area

The Chillicothe City Council referred to its judicial committee the issue of downtown parking regulations at its Monday night meeting.

Requests made for downtown area

The Chillicothe City Council referred to its judicial committee the issue of downtown parking regulations at its Monday night meeting.

Via a letter, downtown business owners Sarah and Wes Williamson of Happy Thought Coffee and World Class Travel have two suggestions for encouraging more customers to downtown businesses.

First, they suggest city officials “remove any unnecessary loading zones,” naming areas in front of 212 W. Pine St. and 1008 N. Second St., and adding diagonal parking. They suggested if it cannot all be diagonal through the downtown and side streets, then possibly a combination of the two could work.

“Through the years we have had many customers tell us that they hate parallel parking and avoid having to do it,” they wrote.

Seven more letters, similar in content, were submitted by residents as well.
Resident Jeff Anderson, owner of the property at 212 W. Pine St., addressed the council on the topic.

“I feel I’m unjustly being targeted on this,” he said. He added that he uses the area to load and unload for his catering business.

Mayor Troy Childers Sr. said there is no record of a loading zone area in front of the business, and the only thing marking the area is yellow paint on the curb.

Both Childers and Anderson said the building formerly was used by the Myers family for loading seed. Anderson noted it had been that way since 1937. It may have been a “handshake agreement,” Childers said, as city officials have not been able to find an ordinance distinguishing the area as a loading zone.

“The only times you can’t find a parking spot downtown is when there’s a parade, Fourth of July or a carnival,” said Anderson. “Other than that, the business owners, we all know, you walk around, look around down there, the business owners are parking in front of the buildings, the side of the buildings. They’re not using the parking lots …”

Anderson also said there is a two-hour parking limit in the downtown area but the Williamsons park virtually all day on Pine Street.

Childers stopped Anderson from continuing to speak and said he should attend the committee meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

Also at the meeting, aldermen approved paying $136,400 to Municipal Emergency Services for 25 air packs for the Chillicothe Fire Department and the Chillicothe Community Fire Department will reimburse the city $3,410. The air packs actually are mostly funded through a grant secured by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria).

To create the proper paper trail for an audit, the city is paying for the air packs and then will be reimbursed. Chillicothe Fire Chief John Myers said the city will only pay $3,400 for the equipment and added that office manager Denise Passage assisted greatly in helping him with the paper trail.

In other items, the council:

• authorized Chillicothe Police Chief Steve Maurer to advertise for bids to sell the wrecked 2004 Chevy Impala police vehicle

• approved an advance expenditure of $700 for Maurer to attend the Midwest Security and Police Conference Aug. 9 through 11 in Rosemont

• approved a sidewalk program application for Sarah Huyck, 1721 Benedict, for $744. The program grants a portion of money for residents to either make new sidewalks or fix existing ones. Balance left in the program is almost $12,900. The council also approved opening the program to business owners for commercial properties. The city pays 25 percent and the property owner 75 percent. Applications for both residential and commercial property owners may be picked up at City Hall.

• approved hiring two part-time public works employees, Jacob Calvin and David Graham, for $9.84 per hour. With one full-time employee retiring come September, aldermen said most likely either Calvin or Graham could be hired as a full-time employee after the retirement.

• heard alderman Rich Underwood say he received a call from a resident about drivers not obeying the stop sign at the corner of Truitt Avenue and Second Street. Maurer said an officer watched that area about a month ago and did not catch anyone not stopping. Maurer said he would have an officer watch that area again.

• heard alderman Mel Witte say he received a comment from a resident about traffic control at night during Balloons at the Park. The resident told Witte it was hard to see the policemen on Illinois Route 29 at Three Sisters Park with all the flashing squad car lights on one side of the road. Maurer said they need the lights going and wear reflective vests. “To be honest, they weren’t ready for the amount of traffic that they had at the same time,” Maurer said.

• heard alderwoman Judy Cantwell mention that as the aldermen already knew, the city’s police dog, Konan died recently. Maurer said handler Sgt. Rich Mark told him Monday night he has decided to finish his last eight years without a K-9. Officer Nick Bridges, however, wants to be the handler, Maurer said. Cantwell said they expect to have a dog possibly by August. It will be a multi-purpose dog, meaning it will be able to be used for drugs, bomb and arson detecting, as well as tracking. Konan was not able to do all those things. Cantwell said city officials gave Mark the option if he would like to keep the cremains.