HOOPESTON — Mayor Bill Crusinberry appointed seven members to the Historic Preservation Commission at Tuesday’s council meeting to oversee the week- long celebration next year of the 150th Sesquicentennial Celebration of Hoopeston’s founding.

Crusinberry appointed Brad Hardcastle, Marta Pierce, Jeanette Andre, Debbie Benjamin, Valarie Hinkle, Kristy Kelnhofer and Ellen Scharlach to oversee the plans, volunteers, advertising and events for the week-long event. Meetings will be held the second and fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m. in City Hall for those interested in helping.

The scheduled dates for the event are from June 27 to July 3, 2021.

In other business, the newest Hoopeston Police Officer Josh Douglas completed his training as of September 30. Chief Jim DeWitt sent a press release stating that Halloween trick-or-treaters are allowed between the hours of 5:30 – 8 p.m.

The yearly Spooktacular hosted by the Hoopeston Jaycees would be held 5:30-7 p.m. October 26, with specific guidelines for the yearly downtown trick-or-treating. Candy must be individually wrapped and handed out by the business owners. There would also be no costume contest as in the past, due to the virus.

Learned bids will be accepted for grave blankets at Floral Hill Cemetery and will be opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 20. Specifications are at the water office at City Hall.

Learned the street and alley department will begin alley clean-up of yard waste, Monday, Oct. 19. Brush, leaves, grass and limbs only will be picked up during the clean-up. According to Alderman Jeff Wise, anything other than those items in the piles will be left without pick up.

Learned the disc aeration system had a broken paddle at the water treatment plant that has been temporarily fixed. The Department is in the process of applying for a grant to repair the system, said Alderman Lourdine Florek. Cost was estimated at $250,000 but could be much higher. Florek was not sure the grant would pay for the entire cost or if the City would have to add additional funds. It would be 60-90 days before the department would be informed of the amount of the grant.

Learned Sigan would replace the basketball goals at the park at no charge to the city.

The City Hall maintenance planned for this year was revised. Instead of painting all of City Hall, according to Alderman Bill Goodwine, he suggested just painting the guard rail and light poles, add two new doors, and add additional lighting around City Hall. The estimated amount for the maintenance was estimated at $6,000 instead of $8,000 originally planned.

The nuisance ordinance was tabled.

The council discussed the grant application that Mike Davis, Central Illinois Land Bank director, applied to the Build Illinois Program for Hoopeston in the amount of $250,000 to help rehab, repair or demolish deteriorating homes. The City of Hoopeston pledged a donation of $50,000 and the Hoopeston Retirement Village discussed donating $150,000 in matching funds for the grant.

Crusinberry said he found approximately 26 homes that had been without water service for more than 10 years, some longer and a few for only three or more years. Three to four houses were up for auction for unpaid taxes which the Land Bank will have transferred to them, said Crusinberry, one which has someone living in it and will have to be evicted.

Crusinberry said he had two structural engineers now that could look at downtown buildings and determine if they are structurally safe or not for the city.

A lengthy discussion followed which included BZZZ’s Bar which burned last year. The building’s awning appears to be pulling away from the building and continues to be a hazard to the downtown community and a possible liability to the owner(s). The building cannot be demolished until the State Fire Marshall letter releases it. Brian Swinford is due in court next week about the building, according to Crusinberry.

The home that burned at 601 S. 4th Ave. had the asbestos removed and was cleaned up by Silver Bros.

No word has been received by the City from the Suiter family and their plans for the two properties in Sutier’s estate. A letter was sent to the estate, said Crusinberry, regarding the property.

The Countryside Mall owner, Mike Mihalios of Chicago was given two weeks on his building to have a plan of action. He asked a local contractor to clean up the debris after part of the roof and second floor fell into the basement last month. The contractor refused to send any of his people inside the building. Crusinberry said the City would have to go through the State statutes to get the ball rolling for a title search. Mihalios still insists the building can be fixed.

More discussion centered around the Essex building, the 401 W. Maple St. home that burned recently and Lester’s Drug Store in the 200 block of East Main.

Alderman Chad Yaden asked why the city employees were mowing and doing work at the Vermilion Iron property on tax payer money. According to both Alderman Bill McElhaney and Crusinberry, the city is just maintaining the right-of-way.

Discussed a parking lot be made in the area where a building was taken down after it collapsed a few years ago on the south side of the 100 block of E. Main St. With the new businesses downtown — Bricks and Ivy and the 112 Wine and Coffee Shoppe in that area and Pizza King all bringing additional traffic —more parking is needed.

Keep Vermilion County Beautiful is hosting a Great American Clean-up day in Danville Saturday morning, October 10 and electronic collection on Saturday, Oct 17 in the front parking lot at DACC from 9 – 11 a.m., the last one for this year. Donations are requested that will benefit Keep Vermilion County Beautiful.

Crusinberry reminded the council and audience that election packets are available from the city at the water department window. The forms must be turned in between Dec. 14 and Dec. 22. The packets are for mayor, city clerk, city treasurer, one four-year alderman in each ward and one two-year alderman to fill Alex Houmes position.

The next Hoopeston City Council will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at City Hall.

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