RANKIN — Resident Gary Polchow told village board members last week that he feels the village and the Vermilion County Public Health Department should be targeting another local property for cleanup just as aggressively as they are the old grade school building that burned to the ground in June.
Polchow specifically mentioned the site of another dilapidated school building located along Illinois 49 on the town’s south side. Its walls have been crumbling for years.
Polchow’s brother, Herbert, owns the property that occupied the former grade school prior to the building catching fire. The health department’s administrator said following the blaze that he intended to impose a deadline for Herbert Polchow to clean up the rubble on the property — or instead face fines — but so far no cleanup has been done.
Gary Polchow told village trustees last month and again last week that he believes accelerants were used to set the grade school building ablaze. An arson investigator for the state fire marshal’s office, however, was unable to pinpoint the fire’s cause.
Also at last week’s board meeting, village engineer Greg Gustafson said some changes were made to the water tower’s controls. Gustafson said that if the board’s president, Aaron Warren, had heard nothing from the maintenance crew, he assumed everything was working well. Warren said he had heard nothing.
Also, ordinance enforcement officer Sandy Coffey said there was some progress being made with some — but not all — properties targeted for cleanup. Coffey recommended that property owners who ignore her requests to address ordinance violations be taken to court, and the board agreed.