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GIBSON CITY — City council members approved plans Monday night for one land purchase but failed to support another property acquisition.

City Superintendent Randy Stauffer presented information about purchasing a parcel of ground from Alliance Grain for a new water tower to be built at the Jordan Industrial Park on the city’s west edge. Council members approved spending $3,450 to have Hartke Engineering & Surveying of Ogden survey the 0.6-acre parcel.

In a straw poll, council members indicated their support for acquiring the parcel.

Once the survey is completed, City Attorney Marc Miller of Champaign said he will prepare an ordinance for the council’s approve making way for the purchase of the parcel.

Alliance Grain’s asking price is $12,500. Stauffer said land in the industrial park recently sold for about $21,000 per acre, making the asking price in line with going rates.

The to-be-purchased area plus adjacent land the city already owns will combine to make a 130-by-130-foot parcel on which to put the new water tower and construct a street to access it.

The proposed 500,000-gallon water tower would be the third water tower serving the city, with the two others holding 300,000 and 100,000 gallons, respectively. Mayor Dan Dickey said the new water tower would accommodate the city’s future growth, as well as ensure the city can keep enough water in its water towers to last at least 36 hours in the event of a power outage.

Last month, the council voted unanimously to spend $218,033 on engineering services for the water tower project. Champaign-based Donohue & Associates Inc. will complete the engineering work once the city learns whether it has been awarded a low-interest loan from the state to help pay for the anticipated $3 million project.

The city applied last September for a loan of up to $3 million through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s revolving loan program. Dickey noted that the city may be eligible for $800,000 in loan forgiveness, meaning the city would be required to pay back only $2.2 million.

Utilize land for storage

In another proposal, Stauffer presented information on purchasing seven city lots adjacent to the Drummer Township offices.

The land has been appraised at $40,000. Its owner reportedly is willing to sell the property plus an existing 70-by-120-foot building and two storage trailers for $45,000.

Stauffer said there is a need to construct a new salt storage shed and to store construction materials and by-products the city could reuse at bargain prices rather than paying retail prices for new materials such as crushed concrete or ground asphalt.

Finance Committee Chairman Scott Davis asked if there is another location that could be utilized for equipment and materials storage without spending that much of the city’s money.

Alderman Aaron Kafer presented aerial images and measurements of areas by the city’s water treatment plant that he feels could be configured for the city’s needs.

“I believe we have enough property, Kafer said. “We just need to utilize it.”

Stauffer said the water treatment plant property could be used, but there are problems with it — such as not being level and without a rock base, piping below the surface, and the potential need for future water plant expansion.

Alderman Randy Wyant said he agreed with Kafer, and most other aldermen indicated the same. Therefore, no action was taken on the agenda item for purchasing the other property.

Stauffer was directed to begin planning for cleanup at the water treatment plant property to free up space. A Ford Crown Victoria that has a blown engine was approved for sale for salvage.

Vehicles to be sold

Police Chief Adam Rosendahl said the police department will be selling two cars to the public via sealed bids. Photos of the cars will be available on the police department’s Facebook page. Bids will be due within seven days of the post.

Rosendahl also asked the council to approve selling the existing K-9 squad car to a company that is transferring equipment to a newly purchased squad car. Rosendahl said sealed bids usually bring $500 to $1,000 for a car. After seeing the car, the company agreed to give $1,500 credit against the police department’s bill, which is what Rosendahl said he hoped to get for that vehicle.

Skatepark update

A Kid’s Day is being planned at the city’s West Park from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 13. Dale and Billie Jo Denny, members of the Ed Day Skatepark Committee, requested the council’s approval of the event.

They said the event’s purpose is to survey attendees on what features they would like to see in the proposed skatepark named in honor of the late Ed Day, a former alderman. The event will include a bounce house and food vendors.

Attendees are also asked to help with fundraising for the skatepark by bringing crushed aluminum cans that can be sold as part of the “Can We Collect” effort.

On Monday, a $500 check to be deposited in the city’s skatepark fund was presented to the council. The check represents proceeds from a recent 50/50 drawing and garage sale fundraisers. With the weekly drawing’s jackpot now totaling more than $17,000, organizers asked for the city to block 9th Street in anticipation of a large turnout for the jackpot drawing on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the American Legion Hall.

Recycling report

Karen Kummerow, volunteer recycling chairman, presented the annual recycling report.

Kummerow’s report showed 200 recycling passes were sold in 2018-19, down from 209 the previous year.  The most passes sold was in 2011-12, when 239 passes were sold.

The majority of the passes sold in 2018-19 — 46 percent — were purchased by resident seniors. Other categories and rates for passes include residents, nonresidents and nonresident seniors.

Passes are available for purchase at the Moyer District Library and during the recycling collection on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Passes pay for approximately half of the recycling costs, and the city picks up the other half.

Recycling tonnage has continued to increase each year, standing at 74.6 tons collected this year. That figure is a substantial increase over the 22 tons collected in 2005-06.

Council members approved Kummerow’s request for a one-year contract renewal with Ridgeview Recycling at last year’s rate of $650 per month. Kummerow said the firm has been reliable and cooperative.

Dickey thanked Kummerow and all members of the recycling committee’s volunteer board of directors. Besides Kummerow, members include Mick Horsch, Gary Lutterbie, Beth Tabor, Kevin Seymour, Matt and Danielle Brown, and the First Christian Church.

Fright Night

Adam Elder was present to request the council’s approval of Fright Night, which is sponsored annually by the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event was set for 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 22. Children are invited to trick-or-treat at businesses and participate in costume judging and games.

The council approved barricading Sangamon Avenue between 8th and 10th streets from 4 to 8 p.m. to allow for preparations for the event.