BY CAROL HICKS
City council members agreed Tuesday to allow Spear Corp. to apply for a permit this year from Illinois for a Splash Pad and electric handicap lift for the municipal swimming pool for about $11,000.
The present manual handicap lift does not meet state codes, said alderman Carl Ankenbrand said if the city did not apply for the electric handicap lift, the pool would not open this year.
According to Ankenbrand, Spear Corp. also put together a proposal for a Splash Pad, a 42-foot by 55-foot area to possibly be added next year. The projected cost of the Splash Pad would be $172,000, which is already in the accrual fund for the pool.
"This is a good opportunity," said Alderman Bill McElhaney, citing Rantoul as a area that benefited from a Splash Pad. "The Splash Pad itself will bring another option to Hoopeston and more area people to Hoopeston’s pool."
Ankenbrand also added a Splash Pad is on a separate system and could be used without a lifeguard after the pool closed for the year if there is a warmer fall than normal
Alderman Bill Goodwine was not willing to commit to a Splash Pad Tuesday until pricing options were looked at around the area.
Alderwoman Sue Comstock commented the city cannot keep finding excuses to put things off and a positive attitude is needed more often.
In the meantime, said Ankenbrand, McFerren Park director Eugene Warner has contacted local contractors about remodeling the bathhouse this year. Ankenbrand’s five-year plan for the pool included the remodeling this year of the bathhouse, a Splash Pad next year, work on the deck in the third year, replace the concession area in the fourth year and replace diving boards in the fifth year.
In other council business:
Mike Streff of Foth Infrastructure & Environmental LLC. Said a permit was received from the EPA to go ahead with the planned water treatment and storage improvement projects.
He added the city must still have a public hearing, prepare a bond ordinance, obtain bids and, finally, submit the final plans and bids to the EPA for final approval. The EPA will then revue and evaluate the bids, approve the loan for the project and award a contract to the appropriate bidder.
"Everything is on schedule," said Streff.
Opening bids for the project are tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. June 11 at City Hall.
Council members approved the recommendation of the plan commission regarding a sidewalk waiver to GC Medical facility, which plans to build a facility north of CVS.
Also approved was the ordinance approving the city electric aggregation program and Farming with Flowers bid of $6,000.75 for 127 live and 63 artificial perpetual care urns at Floral Hill Cemetery.
Learned the Hoopeston Fire Department conducted elections. Officers are: Cliff Crabtree, fire chief; Joel Bird, assistant fire chief; Brian Trueblood, captain; Brian Silver as lieutenant; Jon Rayles, secretary; and Chad Bruens, treasurer.
Learned that $4,000 was still in special fund for a skate park, but the students who raised the money were gone and there didn’t seem to be the support for the project as there was previously.
McElhaney reminded residents the storm sewer system is at full capacity with all the rain received the past two weeks. If there is an issue of concern, he said, call the city first before calling a contractor to solve the problem.
The city still needs volunteers to hand out pamphlets and water bottles during the Let’s Walk Vermilion County at 9 a.m. May 11. This is a program sponsored by the Vermilion County Health Department and the HALO Project to encourage Let’s Walk Vermilion County has 15 communities participating.
The next Hoopeston city council meeting will be held Tuesday, May 7, 7:00 p.m. at City Hall, 301 W. Main St.