BY CAROL HICKS
HOOPESTON — Downtown Hoopeston business owners and residents flooded the council meeting Tuesday, voicing concerns regarding the Downtown Motel, asking what is being done to alleviate the problem in that area.
Dustin Tarter, co-owner of City Chef, stated, "My business has declined significantly (since the homicide occurred at Downtown Motel in March). If it fails, the area is poisoned and no one will ever come there again."
He added city officials need to look at the ordinances and make a plan to redevelop the downtown area.
Joyce Allen, Allen Accounting and H & R Block, stated she had not been contacted about the motel since the last council meeting. She said she also contacted fire chief Cliff Crabtree to do a fire inspection on the motel, but he had not returned her call either.
Chamber of Commerce President Valarie Hinkle stated business representatives had come to her to do something about the problem downtown.
Mayor Bill Crusinberry said city attorney Andrew Mudd was looking at the ordinances. Mudd, zoning commissioner John Holt and police chief Mark Drollinger would work on a plan regarding the Downtown Motel.
In other council business, council members heard a presentation from Mike Streff, Foth Infrastructure & Environment. LLC, about new proposed requirements for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. The new proposal would set nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient limits in the treatment plants. The new technology-based nutrient limits would become part of the secondary treatment regulation standards for publically owned treatment works for municipalities.
Streff also presented two proposed logos for the ground and elevated water tanks to the council. The council would make a choice to be submitted to the contractor for placement on the tanks. Crusinberry requested copies of the logos for the council. He said decision would be made before the next meeting.
+ The petition to change the liquor ordinance to allow Marathon to include hard liquor in his business was brought before the council.
"If someone would want to make a motion to expand the liquor license at the next meeting," said Crusinberry, "we'll turn it over to attorney Mudd."
Alderman Carl Ankenbrand stated he would make the motion, but would like the original proposed ordinance. The ordinance will be on the next council agenda.
+ Barbara and Ron Knuth came before the board to seek assistance with a neighbor who has raw sewage lying in a 12-foot by 15-foot area outside their house. The sewage is beginning to run into another yard. The problem, said Barbara Knuth, has been going on for nearly four years.
"Nobody should have to put up with this," said Ron Knuth.
Jeff Keith, local resident, noted that the USDA flyer in the city hall display case makes loans at one percent that could be looked into as a solution to the problem.
Crusinberry said he would make some calls and see if something could be done this time to alleviate the problem.
+ Learned Hoopeston was commended by the Department of Health for perfect compliance for 12 months at the water treatment plant. Also Steve Baker, water department superintendent, was recognized by the Illinois Rural Water Association as the Water System of the Year runner up.
The next Hoopeston City council will begin at 7 p.m. April 15 City Hall, 301 W. Main St.