GIBSON CITY — Gibson City Council members granted Gibson Area Hospital a variance  to city ordinance Monday night allowing it to install a large water-detention basin underneath the future site of a parking lot next to the hospital’s Annex.

Mike Friend, an engineer for the Farnsworth Group of Champaign, told council members that the exception in the ordinance is for the hospital to reduce the rain time from one hour to 30 minutes so that it can construct the large underground basin, which will serve the hospital in the event of a large rainfall.

The hospital is spending $72,720 to build an underground basin at 511 E. 19th St., the former Nolan Harms property, and $82,800 for a basin at its expansion site on the west side of Melvin Street. No money will be spent by the city for the work.

Friend explained that the basins will be built to look like a Quonset hut. They will be filled with stone to help reduce waste runoff. The system would then be placed underground and buried, with a certain amount flowing out but not a great amount.

Friend said the typical amount of rainfall considered for a three-year flood is 3.95 inches of rain per hour, and a 100-year flood is measured at 9.34 inches per hour.

City Superintendent Randy Stauffer said he agreed with the hospital’s decision to implement the underground basins, saying it would prevent excess water on the east side of the property and would drastically cut off water.

“It’s a pretty good complement to get that standing water out of there,” Stauffer said.

Friend also noted that neighbors to the south side of the Harms property would not see any water runoff into their yards as the project will include an emergency overflow so that water does not escape.

The water-detention system will be included as part of the hospital’s $12 million project to build an office tower at the site of the current Annex parking lot. The Harms residence, which has been used by the hospital’s information technology department for the past decade, will be demolished next month and replaced with a parking lot. Contractors bulldozed two vacant homes west of the hospital last week to be used for a parking lot expansion. In addition, the former women’s clinic building across from the post office has been torn down and will become a parking lot for the hospital’s central business office, located on the second floor of the Heartland Bank.

Other business

In other business:

➜ Council members approved up to $5,000 in facade grant improvements to Choose 2 Change Fitness Club, 921 S. Sangamon Ave. Owner Leslie Davis said the business is covering its gravel parking lot with asphalt. Her husband, Alderman Scott Davis, said the work would be completed in the next fiscal year’s budget, so the money would be spent out of that year’s funds.

➜ The council approved the spending of $1,950 in a property improvement grant to Ernie Pearson so he can have a house at 317 E. 16th St. demolished. The contractor is Boyle Excavating, and the grant amount is for 65 percent of the project cost.

➜ Council members approved a previously discussed community development assistance program loan to Kelly Steenbergen for her to open the new Jay’s Place bar at 117 N. Sangamon Ave. in downtown Gibson City. City Attorney Marc Miller said that Mayor Dan Dickey and himself can both make changes to the loan under provisions included in the contract. Miller also said that per the city’s request, Steenbergen’s name is included in the plan rather than the business name.

➜ A motion considering construction of a new lift station for the new trucking business at the Jordan Industrial Park was tabled. Stauffer said only one bid was submitted, and he would like to see a second bid before considering the request. Stauffer added that the city has built lift stations at businesses before, and this one would be no different, with the city installing it and then the business paying for its operation.

➜ Council members approved holding a city-wide cleanup day on Saturday, June 15.

➜ Davis said final year-end budget figures will be available by May 1, and consideration on the 2020 fiscal year city budget should begin at that time.