VG City Council discusses Story Walk at Richman Park

The Villa Grove City Council convened on Monday March 8 for their regular monthly meeting.

Mayor Eversole Gunter called the meeting to order at 6:04 p.m., and roll call found aldermen Hooker, Garrett, Pangburn and Johnson in attendance, while aldermen Blaney and Griffith were absent.  Also present were mayor Eversole Gunter, clerk Osborne, administrator Athey, Public Works Director Lake and Chief of Police Rea, along with advisory members Lydia and Alexa Howard.

After the pledge, Mayor Eversole Gunter called for a motion to approve the consent agenda, which consisted of the following:
* Minutes of the last regular city council meeting, held February 8, 2021. 

* Authorization for the payment of bills in the amount of $25,454.31.

* Financial reports for the month ending January 31, 2021.

* Cash balance report for the month ending February 28, 2021.

The motion, made by Hooker and seconded by Johnson, passed unanimously.

Next, the mayor called for public comments, and Jackie Wells, Camargo Township Library librarian, and Callie Parr, VG School Ag teacher and  FFA coordinator, were on hand to discuss the implementation of the Story Walk, at Richman Park.  Parr demonstrated the boxes that she and her FFA students would fabricate that would hold the stories.  She also noted that the boxes could be removed and safely stored during the winter months, thus extending their use life.   She asked for the city’s assistance in setting the poles, which would be permanent, and it was agreed that she and director Lake would coordinate the installation.

Finding no other public comments, the mayor next called upon Administrator Athey to make her report.  Athey noted that she was still making arrangements for electronics cleanup for city wide cleanup day. She noted that the contractors were waiting on IEPA approval to begin the McCoy Subdivision Water project and that product staging had already begun.  Next, she noted that signups for summer recreation programs were complete, and that signups for Soccer need to be turned in by the end of the month.  She then mentioned that a Public Utilities fact sheet would be mailed to every residence in Villa Grove, and that she was looking for a local printer willing to do the job.  Finally, she noted that due to their hybrid/online nature, annual conferences could be attended at a lower price than normal, and that she would begin to research the ones that would most likely benefit the city.  

Next, Public Works Director Lake made his report to the council.  Lake reported that the Adams Street Pump Station was in need of repairs.  He also said that he had requested quotes for weed killer, and that he planned to have the public works team go to work on making improvements, including the installation of a concrete pad, at Coddington Park.  

Chief Rea then made a short report, in which he commended Officer Rasmussen for the good PR he generated with his spontaneous decision to engage some local kids in a football game.  Rea said that he encourages all of his officers to connect with the community and that this was a great example of such.

Heath Wilson, the Recreation Program Director, was on hand to ask if and how construction of the new Community Building would impact softball and baseball games to be scheduled at Richman Park.  Brian Kesler from Architectural Expressions and Pat Corrigan, an engineer from the same firm were on hand and stated that the impact would be minimal, and that the general contractor could be instructed on where he could and could not stage materials. 

The Council then moved on to new business including:
* Approval of the purchase of weed killer from Progressive chemical for 110 gallons at $40.88 per gallon.

* The council then discussed three potential choices for HVAC systems for the new community building. In addition to the Architect and Engineer from Architectural Expressions, local resident Casey Pellum, a professional in the industry, was on hand to offer advice and information about the project.  After much discussion, it was decided that a high efficiency Electric/Natural Gas unit would be the most cost-efficient type of unit, rather than a geothermal or all electric unit the council made that their recommendation.  The council also approved a change to the plan that would move the storm shelter from the main restroom area to the locker room area adjacent to the gym.

* The council then approved the hire of Melanie Brooks as a part time senior activities coordinator at the senior center

Finally, resident Greg Harbin had some questions about the cost of the community building, and where the funds were coming from and the mayor and council did their best to answer his questions. 

The council then moved to a closed session at approximately 7 p.m., coming out at 7:56, and finding no further business, adjourned at that time.

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