Council assists businesses

Marianne Gillespie

Downtown building owners continued to take advantage of the city’s assistance in keeping their storefronts looking sharp, or updating their appearance.

The Chillicothe City Council approved two more Project Facelift Program applications.

Kara Vonk of KV Imagery, 939 N. Second St., is opening a new business where the Town Gallery formerly was located.

Her application included repainting and replacing the front awning, for a total of $3,128.03. The council approved paying $787.50.

The council also approved assistance for building owner Shannon Crabel, of 1017 N. Second St., where Jill’s Downtown Dance Depot is located. He was approved for $900 toward eliminating the middle row of glass and replacing it with an ornamental façade.

A third application was withdrawn in order to check the amount of money requested.

Building owners located within the Central Business Tax Increment Financing District are eligible to participate in the program, which includes multiplying the buildings’ lineal footage times either $37.50 for a retail business or $25 for a service business. The owner then may apply for up to that amount of money through the program.

The applications are then reviewed by the city’s economic development committee and, ultimately, are approved by the council.

The projects are funded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once approved, the work must be completed in six months and then the council reimburses the building owner the approved amount through TIF funds.

The council also approved payments to Robert Poynter for $2,900 and Jay Close for $1,012.50 for their completed work.

Remaining in the fund is $2,325.

After the recent loss of cemetery/parks supervisor Art Jackson, the council approved promoting Al Ginger as cemetery foreman, retroactive to Aug. 6, with an hourly rate of $10.50.

“This is a decision we don’t want to rush into — replacing Art,” said cemetery/parks chairwoman Judy Cantwell. “It’s a heckuva loss for that department, and right now we’re in the maintenance period, just keeping it mowed. We’ll decide this winter which direction we want to go.”

City clerk Sharon Crabel, who takes care of the cemetery books, said Gary Schaefer is teaching Ginger how to lay out monuments.

“There’s so much knowledge that we lost,” said Cantwell. “A lot of the responsibility is falling on Sid (Crabel) and I appreciate his efforts — we talk every morning.”

Sid Crabel is in charge of overseeing both the cemetery/parks workers and his public works crew, whom Cantwell said are jumping in and helping when needed.

In other items, the council:

• held a moment of silence in honor of Dick Eckstein, who died recently. The council also approved waiving the cemetery lot fee and grave opening and closing fee of $700 for his burial.

• heard Mayor Gary Fyke say he received numerous compliments about the street resurfacing around town

• heard Sharon Crabel say the freshly painted fire hydrants also looked good around town. The Calvary Baptist Church youth group and assistant pastor Jared Cochran painted an estimated 100 fire hydrants from Sixth Street east, according to pastor Curtis Cochran. “It was a fun thing, and we hope to help the community,” he said. With Jared back at school, Cochran said he was not sure when the group might paint more.

• heard Sharon Crabel seek council approval for the Chillicothe Cemetery Enhancement Committee to host its annual “I Believe in Angels” Walk without a notice for special event held on public property, as the group was not seeking any city services, including a police escort. The group, which raises money for the city-owned cemetery, would not need special-event insurance if it does not need city services. The walk is from 8 to 11 a.m. Sept. 27, and the route this year will be from Pearce Community Center down Sixth Street to the Chillicothe City Cemetery. In previous years, the group began at Shore Acres, walked Second Street to City Park and back.

Last year, the group walked Third Street from Shore Acres. Aldermen seemed in agreement of no need for a special event notice.

• heard Crabel say Art Jackson’s grandson, Josh, was working on a memorial benefit in memory of his grandfather, tentatively set for Sept. 27, but was seeking insurance in order to use City Park and the fire station

• heard alderwoman Judy Cantwell say she has received complaints of residents’ dumping dirty cat litter in city alleys

• heard alderman Jim Thornton ask if all the city’s stop signs could be reviewed to make sure they are controlling traffic correctly. Crabel said she thought a study was done under the late alderman Neil Young’s term. The process is costly, aldermen said.

• concurred with the mayoral appointment of Cathy Reicker and Bob Poynter to the Shademakers/Beautification Board for a term of 2011

• approved a mayoral proclamation of Sept. 13 as Memory Walk Saturday in Chillicothe

• approved adding stop signs to the city code for the second phase of RiverSound subdivision, including: Sandyshores at Hillcrest drives, River Birch at Stillwater drives, Stoney Walk Way at Stillwater Drive, Misty Breeze at Stillwater Drive and Ridgewood at Hillcrest drives; and a four-way stop at Stillwater and Hillcrest drives

• approved changing language in the city code about impounding vehicles when a citizen is driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license. The council increased its fee of $250 to $500, to be in line with other municipalitites and Peoria County, police/fire committee chairman Chris Boyer said.

• approved two motions for the American Legion Post 9 to have live entertainment in its outdoor pavilion and extend the playing of amplified music from 11 p.m. until midnight for Sept. 13 and Sept. 20

• approved paying Supreme Radio $1,876.68 for two portable radios with battery and remote speaker microphone. The equipment was borrowed from the Chillicothe Fire Department, and loaned to the police department for Summer Camp, which then got wet and ruined. All the aldermen in attendance — Boyer, Thornton, Mel Witte, Denny Gould and Rich Underwood — approved the measure, except for Cantwell, who said she thought Summer Camp promoter Jay Goldberg should pay for the damaged radios. Aldermen Troy Childers and Carl Spencer were absent.

• authorized superintendent of public works Sid Crabel to place a 20 mph school zone sign on Cutright Street between Truitt Avenue and Chestnut Street to coincide with the bus drop offs. The council also authorized Sid Crabel to place a “slow, children playing” sign by the park on Stillwater Drive.

• approved the final payment of $4,525 to C.J. Holding Co. dba J&J Manufacturing for the cemetery fence and gate for the Sixth Street entrance

• approved amending an ordinance of the permitted uses for zonings with C-2 and CB-1 to allow for furniture stores, including upholstery, furniture assembly and production when part of a retail business

• and approved a $1,000 priority one project of recoating the roof at the police station for preventative maintenance.