DANVILLE — Another building has been causing issues downtown.
Danville Fire Chief Don McMasters told Danville City Council aldermen Tuesday night the city has posted a notice on the former Sears building, the Heartland Building, that it currently can’t be occupied.
McMasters said the water and power has been shut off to the structure. It will be fixed and restored, he said, adding that the city doesn’t want a structure “without a sprinkler system in any of those buildings downtown.”
“We’re seeing to get that put together and repaired as soon as possible,” McMasters said.
City public works and public safety employees on Tuesday made sure all downtown buildings were secured.
“It was starting to flood the basement,” said Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr., adding that the water could have gone into other buildings.
Aqua Illinois helped and shut off the water, Williams said.
“This was truly a team effort to keep everybody safe,” Williams said.
When Heartland Fair closed in the building at 126 N. Vermilion St. last year, the only occupant left in the building had been Alpha-Omega Counseling Services. It moved out too this year, so the building is now vacant.
The owner of the Heartland Building, since about October 2019, lives in California.
In other reports at the Danville City Council’s Public Services Committee meeting Tuesday night, the city of Danville will start accepting applications for seasonal workers starting Monday, March 1.
Applications can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofdanville.org.
The city’s Public Works Department also is planning a job fair from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 12.
The city also is planning to start firefighter testing again.
McMasters said the fire department could have two to three retirements in the next year, and the eligibility list is down to only a couple who are able to be hired.
The application process could start in March, with testing later this year.
McMasters said he’s also applying for an approximately $23,000 small equipment grant through the state fire marshal’s office.
The committee also learned from Danville Police Chief Chris Yates that he’s working through House Bill 3653, the criminal justice and police reforms bill that was signed into law, and its effects on the police department, such as mandatory body cameras for all patrol officers.
He also said many officers have received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose, which adds extra security in dealing with the public and going home to their families.
Williams also told aldermen if all demolitions occur as expected this year of dilapidated structures, 35 city-owned structures would remain on the city’s list.
He said one house the city is demolishing is in the Denvale West subdivision.
He said by eliminating this blighted property, one really bad house in a neighborhood, the whole neighborhood can be stabilized.
City officials also are working on updating the city’s website, with new colors and designs.
In other business, the committee recommended:
• Appropriating $1.6 million in motor fuel tax funds for upcoming roadway work.
• Approving a professional services agreement to complete an environmental study on the property near the Poland Road pump station. The cost is $35,500 with Fehr-Graham Engineering and Environmental to perform Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments.
• Authorizing purchase of a property for $800 from the Vermilion County Trustee. City Engineer Sam Cole said the small parcel is in the Stonegate subdivision off Liberty Lane. It’s a piece of roadway for future expansion of the subdivision. Cole said the city wanted to secure it so the subdivision could be extended “more easily in the future.”
• Authorizing sale of 649 Section St. for $5,000 at private sale. City officials say the city has no use or project for the approximately five acre property. The property, south of Fairchild Street and east of Section Street is for an adjacent business for security in its expanded vehicle impoundments area.
The full city council will act on these items next week.