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June 2, 2003

Council gives go ahead for Westside Park Pavilion

Monday, June 2, 2003 Posted 9:30 p.m.
The final approval to proceed with the construction of the Westside Park Pavilion was given by the Minonk City Council at its normal Monday night meeting. One year after initiating a fund drive, it appears that there will be enough money to construct the pavilion thanks to the offer of free labor from the labor and trade unions to help build the structure.

Westside Park Pavilion Committee Chairman Dean Barth said that the committee has received the offer of free labor from Dave McBride of the local labor union in Roanoke. In addition, Rich Beschorner of Minonk has offered free installation of the plumbing through the plumbers local in Bloomington. He will use apprentices to do much of the work. Other union locals have been lined up by McBride to provide their services as well. Barth said that the city should take advantage of the great opportunity presented to it by the unions. The committee has enough money to build the pavilion since the only cost will be for the material. The materials needed to build the structure total $50,000. Barth said that some of the suppliers applied a 20% discount to their price.

Committee member Dave Uphoff said that now is the time to get started on the pavilion. He said this is the ideal way to build a public facility because it will be built with volunteers. Uphoff said that he and Dean Barth will be coordinating the efforts of the volunteers to construct the pavilion and that the architect, Chuck Fischer, will monitor the work on the project to make sure that specifications are being met. In reponse to a question by Alderman Bill Koos, Uphoff replied that he expects the pavilion to be completed by this fall.

Alderman Bill Koos asked what would happen if the committee runs out of money and the project can't be completed. Uphoff replied that the pavilion fund is much greater than what is needed to cover the material cost. He added that there are some items included in the cost that can be eliminated if needed because they were added on knowing that there would be money available to purchase the items.

Mayor Mark Spencer asked if liability insurance will be needed to cover the volunteer workers. Dean Barth replied that he is looking into getting liability insurance for the project. He indicated that the pavilion funds will pay for the insurance.

Committee Chairman Dean Barth told the council that there will be a ground breaking ceremony for the park pavilion at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, June 7.

Council approves bids for Millennia Park

The City Council approved the recommended bids submitted by the Millennia Committee for construction of the Millennia Park at the north edge of the city. Farnsworth representative Neil Finlen told the council that approval of the bids will allow construction to get started in time so that seeding can be done by this fall.

The council approved a bid of $114,012 from RJS Contracting of Peoria to construct a picnic and restroom facility, a bid of $223,612 from Sullivan Construction of Pontiac to do the site improvements, and a bid of $25,187 from Tonica Nursery for landscaping.

Finlen said construction will start within 30 days. He indicated over 10,000 yards of dirt need to be moved. A borrow pit will be dug during the excavation that will result in a retention pond that can be landscaped with a fountain. He said that the Millennia Committee will be presenting recommendations for bids on the playground equipment, skate park, and inline hockey rink at the next council meeting. Finlen said that it appears that the total cost of the park will be about $30,000 under the $605,000 budget.

Alderman Bill Koos asked Finlen if the city will be responsible for any cost overruns. Finlen assured him that all costs will be borne by the Millennia Committee. He said that the committee is allowed to bill the Department of Natural Resources at three different times for paying their share on work completed. This allows money to be coming in periodically rather than having to wait until the end of the project.

Other news

The council approved a Motor Fuel Tax resolution to apply $54,000 towards the following projects: spray emulsion, spray patch (oil and chip), sidewalk repair, and retaining wall replacement.

Alderman Russell Ruestman asked if the council had considered action on limiting the parking of big trucks in the alley next to Casey's. He said there are huge potholes in the alley. Mayor Spencer said that the council has considered action in the past but never acted on it. He said he will put it on the agenda for the next council meeting.

City Administrator's comments

The sale of the property north of the medical clinic along North Chestnut Street has been finalized. Ruestman-Harris will be constructing a funeral home on the property.

The sanitary sewer line and connecting storm lines at the corner of Fourth and Locust Streets have been dug up and repaired. One line was collasped and a few other lines were blocked. The public works is waiting for a big rain to ensure that surface water drainage problems have been corrected.

The four lights at the Westside basketball court are now operational.

Weed spraying will begin in the city parks and around city buildings this week.

The Police Department is preparing to send out about 19 notices for various weed, long grass and inoperable vehicle violations.