HOOPESTON — Mayor Bill Crusinberry informed the council Tuesday evening of the Rebuild Illinois Program community grants for shovel-ready projects. Deadlines are June 15 for the Fast Track Grant, which is based strictly on points, and June 30.

Three criteria must be met for the June 15 deadline, he said: the project must be shovel ready, be an underserved community and be a community not having six months of reserve capital, adding that from past experience, it was wise to have a professional grant manager.

Crusinberry has been talking to Champaign County Regional Planning and would like the council to give him authorization to sign a contract with the group to apply for the Fast Track Grant.

“Heritage Park is the only shovel-ready project,” he said. That’s the motel project located on 6 acres in the industrial area off Illinois Route 9.

After a short discussion among council members, the council approved the authorization unanimously.

COVID-19 once again was one of the main topics among Hoopeston council members.

Questions were fielded by Alderman Jeff Wise from local residents concerning the closing of Monical’s Pizza in Hoopeston, was there COVID-19 in Hoopeston and, if there was a positive case, why wasn’t the public notified?

According to EMT Director Brad Hardcastle, “The official release is that Monical’s was closed due to an illness. Nothing released officially.”

Hardcastle added, “I did see a cleaning crew in Monical’s on Sunday and know the health department issued guidelines for this illness. Any additional concerns, residents can contact the (Vermilion County) Health Department.”

Another concern was wearing facemasks; people wanted to know if they would be arrested for not wearing masks.

Hardcastle said the use of masks in businesses was up to the individual owners or managers of a business. If the owner requested customers to wear masks and they don’t, the owner will ask the customers to leave. If the customer doesn’t leave, police will be called to remove that customer from the premises.

“The police department is not going into businesses to enforce (the use of masks),” Hardcastle added.

The biggest concern for the emergency management committee, Hardcastle said, is COVID getting into Centennial Manor, Autumn Fields, the nursing home and to at-risk members of the community.

Alderman Chad Yaden was vocal about his opinion of the Vermilion County Health Department, saying, “The county board of health is worthless as far as protecting our residents.”

The department of health does not tell the communities where COVID is in the county nor what businesses are impacted in the county with the virus.

In other council business:

• The council was asked to consider changing times of bulk pickup from a four-hour window to two and be open from 8-10 a.m. instead of 7:30-11:30 a.m.

• The council approved the Motor Fuel Tax Resolution unanimously not to exceed $200,000 for the summer road work project. Also approved unanimously was the intergovernmental agreement with Danville to purchase 18,771 gallons of asphalt for $2.75 per gallon.

• Street and alley cleanup has been completed, according to Wise, and the employees will be working on the tree project.

• After a lengthy discussion and a straw vote, the state of emergency resolution regarding COVID-19 will be revisited and tweaked. The vote was five yes to make changes to the resolution and two no. Aldermen Carl Ankenbrand and Bill Goodwine voted no.

• The Firemen’s Bash and Ball was canceled for this year, but the drawing will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 30. Several tickets are still available to be purchased, said Alderman Robin Lawson. Contact any firefighter to purchase one.

• Crusinberry said he has received calls concerning rummage or garage sales from local residents. Since farmers’ markets have been permitted, he said, he feels it wouldn’t be a problem to have rummage/garage sales in Hoopeston. As far as Gov. Pritzker’s executive order, Crusinberry said the city has received nothing in regard to the executive order or information to pursue it.

“I’m not enforcing these executive orders,” Crusinberry said.

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