Item 11 on the Shelbyville City Council agenda on Monday was "Unfinished Business."

That's the Chautauqua Building; still unfinished business. It sparked more emotions.

After a "public-involved" city council meeting three weeks ago concerning the Chautauqua Building, the council has got a tiger by the tail. Or maybe it has them. It is unfinished business that won't go away. As of Monday night's meeting, it looks like they are done kicking that can down the road.

The question is what to do with the historic Chautauqua Building out at Forest Park. It is a question that has been over a decade in the making. What Commissioner Thom Schafer calls a "Cadillac Plan" to refurbish the building was estimated at $1.8 million back in 2008. The decision has been effectively tabled for 11 years.

At the last council meeting, commissioners and the public discussed putting the question on the ballot for the people to decide, once and for all.

Commissioner Martha Firnhaber said that prior to the council meeting she had received an email form the County Clerk Jessica Fox. She said she had been informed that for a question to be on the ballot for the March 2020 election, the deadline is Dec. 30.

"We need to have discussion about this because we have a limited time until then," Firnhaber said. "It would cost us $20,000 if we have to have a special election."

Commissioner Schafer repeated his stance on making this decision.

"Everybody has a stake in the game," Schafer said. "That's why I have always said I don't feel comfortable making the decision (about what to do with the Chautauqua)."

Firnhaber said the council is going to have to answer a lot of questions before then, especially concerning the continual costs and how the building would be used.

"There is a lot to be planned, so we aren't having this discussion again 20 years from now," Firnhaber said.

"People need to know the costs," Schafer said. "It's only fair."

Firnhaber said she had run into someone with a petition to save the Chautauqua. She said some of the information was not accurate. Commissioner Mark Shanks spoke.

"We need to have proper information out there," Shanks said. "I have heard some in accurate things out there from the other side."

Firnhaber, Schafer, and Shanks all agreed about getting the correct information and get planning.

"It's coming," Shanks said. "But there is still time. We were planning on bringing something up at the next meeting."

Commissioner Firnhaber shared a rumor someone had heard of, that, "The city has the money. It's just buried in Chicago."

Firnhaber started to explain about a phone call she had received and mentioned someone's name in connection with it. A member of the public spoke up and said that Firnhaber bringing that up was "unprofessional." The person got up and left the meeting, but said she would be back for the next meeting.

Firnhaber began explaining again and was interrupted by Shanks. She quickly interrupted back, and asked if she could speak. She finished and Shanks responded.

"May I speak?" Shanks said. "I think there's a misunderstanding about what someone heard." He then explained his understanding of what happened. There was more back and forth about misconceptions in the public and what has been said.

The volume decreased and Mayor Jeff Johnson changed the subject by asking if there was any other unfinished business.

In more unfinished business, Commissioner Schafer reported that oil and chipping had started, but the Howell truck broke down. While waiting for that the spreader over heated and blew out oil at 180% on one of the workers.

"He was not injured at the time," Schafer said. "They will try to get back to work tomorrow (Tuesday).

In more unfinished business, Commissioner Shanks reported that the bid to repair a pavilion at Forest Park is being bid on August 8. A member of the public asked why the city departments can't work together to repair it. Shanks explained that city departments do work together and that it had been repaired from time to time.

"Its old and it has been deteriorated for awhile," Shanks said. "The city workers had determined that they weren't qualified to do the work that was needed. There is to be a new slab and repairs or replacing of the columns."

No one else had any business or they were ready to go home. Mayor Johnson entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting.

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