Shelbyville Daily Union

November 13, 2012

Council to Ask Public on Chautauqua Funding

VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
CNHI

SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Community members will get a chance to voice their opinion on funding repairs to a century old historic Shelbyville landmark.

The City Council approved the suggestion to survey the community about immediate work that needs to be done on the Chautauqua building. The surveys will be included in an upcoming water bill.

The Chautauqua Preservation Committee re-addressed the City Council last week with an update on the building’s condition and plans for funding the project.

“The building is in a position where something has to be done with it,” said committee chairman Wayne Gray. “There are two or three options with the building, but we need to do something about it. We can’t sit around and wait to raise the funds  - we have to do something now.”

Gray noted that a support in the building’s ceiling is showing signs of stress. He added that Shelby Electric Cooperative promised to help with putting in a new support beam.

Gray and Noel Bolinger met with a representative of the Jeffers Foundation who visited the building. The Foundation offers a grant that would pay up to 33 percent, or $135,000, of the repairs. The request for the grant will made in March with the award being made in early to mid-summer.

“But if we get the grant, we have two or three years to raise the match,” Gray noted.

The committee has raised $120,000, and even if the grant was awarded, the committee would still be short $150,000 for the first phase of the restoration project.

The council discussed the idea of a bond referendum to raise the full expense to fully restore the building.  The estimate of $1.7 million was made a few years ago and the question of inflation may raise the cost.

“(Consulting architect) Chuck Pell thought the estimate was firm. We could ask for $2 million and use the excess on other improvements in the park such as sewer, restrooms or parking,” Bolinger suggested.

A referendum could not appear on the ballot until 2014.

In other action the council

- Approved a motion to proceed with plans for the downtown mini-park.

- Approved a request for TIF funds by Kevin and Schryll Bersen for refurbishing the property at 119 E. Main

- Approved the zoning commission’s recommendation to rezone specific areas in the city from mobile home districts to residential.

- Authorized city attorney John Freeman to draft an ordinance about the use of neighborhood electric vehicles in the city limits. The ordinance will be voted on at the next meeting.

Commissioner Bill Shoaff reported that one of the city’s wells has been capped and another has been rejuvenated and that maintenance on the water tanks is being planned.

“We’ll have to have a water rate increase at the beginning of the year because this is going to be rather expensive. This is an 8 to 10 year maintenance plan and we don’t have to have a lot of money up front,” Shoaff said.