The Haas Building at the corner of Market and Carroll, one of several blighted properties addressed at the June 11 Mount Carroll City Council meeting. (PA photo/Craig Lang)
By JOHN HUGGINS | For The Prairie Advocate News
MOUNT CARROLL – The Mount Carroll city council met for its regular meeting at 7:30 pm on June 11, 2013 with the mayor and all aldermen present.
Alderman Joe Grim reported on the recreation committee meeting held earlier in the month. He informed the council that the committee had discussed making handicap accessible stalls in the pool restrooms. He said they also discussed replacing the pool cover and reels which would cost approximately $3,000. The possibility of a fundraiser event was brought up.
Grim went on to say that some of the female lifeguards had requested to wear two piece bathing suits. The committee consensus was the design would have to meet the approval of the committee and that the lifeguards would have to pay for the suits themselves. He went on to convey that the ADA lift had been used for assisting a person in and out of the pool.
Alderman Mike Risko announced that the Mount Carroll Rotary Club had shown an interest in helping pay for the purchase of a new vacuum system for the pool. The current vacuum being used is an old home system designed for a smaller pool. This new system would be commercial grade and more suitable for the size of the city pool.
The club had applied for a grant to help with the funding. Unfortunately, they were not able to get the full amount they had hoped for. Instead of contributing the original $3,000, the club would donate $2,400.
The total cost for the new system is approximately $3,400 which would leave $1,000 that the city would need to contribute. There was a suggestion to approach the Mount Carroll Lions Club to see if they would cover the $1,000. The council voted to purchase the new system.
City employees Greg Kloepping and Mark Traum applied for the opening for the water and sewer department. If either were chosen for the position, the city would need to hire someone to back-fill for that employee.
The finance committee made the recommendation to advertise for applications for a new public works employee. Alderman Bob Sisler asked, “Do we need to qualify [the recommendation] with ‘if and when an opening occurs’ because you don’t know, for sure, that one of these guys are going to take [the current open position].”
“Yes we do,” responded Mayor Carl Bates. “One of them will take it. They both want it.”
The recommendation passed with all voting yes.
Attorney Ron Copland announced that the adjacent land owner originally thought to be interested in taking over the property at 111 North Mill Street called Copland and said he was no longer interested. The reasoning given was that reconstruction or demolition cost would be more than he had anticipated. There is another party interested in the property, however.
Copland stated that the engineer plans were completed for the building at the corner of Market and Carroll. They are now waiting on estimates from a rehabilitation expert out of Rockford, Illinois.
It was noted that people have seen tenants entering and leaving the premises. Copland stated that Mrs. Haas said, in court, that she was telling the tenants to leave. When asked if there was anything the council could do to get the people out, Copland said they could get a court order.
It had also been observed that the business on the first floor was still in operation. Mayor Bates said Mrs. Haas was told to close the business until the repairs were made.
The council was also informed that children had been seen playing outside the building on the sidewalk under the shoring. Copland advised putting up a fence.
East Commercial St. Cleanup
Alderman Tom Charles gave an update for the property in the 300 block of East Commercial Street. He reported that progress continues and that all of the steel had been removed. He stated that trees would be bulldozed next.
Tom Cravatta, owner of Area Small Engine, located on the East Commercial Street area near this vacant lot, was in the audience. He pointed out that the property had black locust trees which are noxious trees. The city has an ordinance against noxious trees. The council felt that good progress is being made and they would see what does actually get done.
Next, the council discussed the 200 block of East Market Street, also referred to as “Bushy Flats.” Bates declared, “We need to figure out what we are going to do. It is an absolute disaster over there. We have to do something. I’m tired of talking about it.”
Alderman Charles suggested, “Maybe the city could provide some dumpsters and get some volunteers to clean and help them out.” Charles also volunteered some of his staff from his business to help.
And finally, Bates noted that Bobby Boyd, owner of the property at 207 Market Street, was out of town. He has been notified that a portion of his building had fallen. He would be back in town June 12 to see what was needed to shore up his building.
In Other Business
Discussed repairs to gravestones in the city cemetery.
Lou Schau spoke briefly about the progress of a list of options the city would have regarding the use of the iFiber broadband project.
Discussed changes to the proposed ordinance for the upcoming block party. There were several things that needed to be changed, so a revised copy would be presented at the next meeting.
Viewed new parking plan for this year’s cruise nights.
Mayor Bates noted that recycling was increased due in part to Mayfest.