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City Council approves Homecoming Downtown Event

By Kendra Hennis 
At the Tuscola City Council meeting on Monday, July 12, the council discussed a weekend full of activities centered around Tuscola’s Homecoming in September. The council began and approved a request from Kenny and Angela Hogue of Cast Iron Pub asking for access to block Main and Sale Street on Saturday, September 25 for a block party. The event plans to go from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and incorporate as many of the downtown businesses as possible. They have planned for day activities for kids, boutique and craft vendors, bands, a bags tournament, and food trucks until 6 p.m., and in the evening they will have bands, food trucks, and a beer tent outside the pub. After 9 p.m. all attendance will be 21 and older. 

The council additionally discussed the All Class Reunion on Friday, September 24 at the Community Building, and the possibility of adding in fireworks to the weekend’s events. Since the rain canceled Sparks in the Park this year, the council is looking at tentative reschedule dates and believes they might be a nice addition. 

The council then heard a proposed water rate increase of $1 to the “base fee” for all users in the City of Tuscola. City Administrator Drew Hoel noted that it had been years since the city has increased their water rates. However, the city has received increased rates from Illinois American Water and has had to make major repairs to the water main system. He said that the proposed $1 increase will help keep the budget on track, but that the city may have to raise those rates again in the next fiscal year. The council will vote on the topic at the July 26 meeting. Hoel also announced that a public hearing would be held before the next city council meeting for the water main project in Meadowview Subdivision. He said that the city has applied for a grant to replace all water mains in the Meadowview Subdivision. Hoel noted that the first phase was the surveys that were completed by residents in the subdivision. The city now is working on finishing their application, and will be able to apply in August following the hearing if all goes as planned. Mayor Kleiss followed with a thank you to the residents for completing their surveys and allowing them to apply for the grant. 

The council then moved to the Ervin Park Improvement Project, noting that it was in its final phases, with the dog park all to be completed. The city has already bid out the project and is just awaiting the company to get the materials for completion. However, Mayor Kleiss felt inspired by the two concrete tiles in the area and reached out to Vintage Karma’s Ainslie Heilich to see if he could complete a project for the area. Heilich drafted a “selfie spot” that the council believes will be loved among all Tuscola residents. The council approved the project and hopes to get the fencing up in the next couple of months, with Heilich’s mural to be added in late September. 

The council also: 
* Approved the minutes of the previous June 28, 2021 meeting.

* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $232,99.71. 

* Heard a thank you from community members for the addition of the pickleball courts at Ervin Park, noting that they were really enjoying them. Mayor Kleiss also encouraged community members who haven’t been out there yet to see the new improvements. 

* Approved Ordinance 8, making the Appropriations for Corporate Purposes of the City of Tuscola, Douglas County, for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2021 and ending April 30, 2022. 

* Noted that the dilapidated properties in town are being worked on by the city. Kleiss noted that the process is sometimes very extensive, but the city just sold two properties and are working with the correct divisions for others around town. 

* Adjourned until the July 26 council meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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