City Council discusses plans for expansion at Spring Lake Park

Steven Barnum, Assistant News Editor

Plans for expansions at Macomb’s Spring Lake Park are now in the works as discussed during Monday’s City Council meeting.

Ryan Hansen, the park’s manager, plans to spend a total of $46,000 to improve the camping facilities at the lake. The end goal includes two new cabins, which will both be equipped with electricity and water, along with eight new full hook-up camp sites. In order to finance the project, Hansen says he will use funds received from Airbnb rentals. He also plans to re-side the park’s house, which is rented out to the public.

“Hansen has been setting aside proceeds from the house rental that he would put toward that (the siding). He said he would pay for that sometime next calendar year,” City Administrator Dean Torreson said. More than $8,000 has been set aside so far.

Alderman at large Dennis Moon, who ultimately voted no on the proposal, expressed candor in his financial concerns.

“Every time we expand the facilities out there, our costs go up and their profit goes up,” Moon said. “There’s not many businesses that have the luxury of having their utilities paid for.”

Alderman John Vigezzi offered another perspective on the project.

“This is meant to improve the park, which is bringing a lot of people out to the park and also to our community,” Vigezzi said. “I think what he’s done has definitely increased the traffic out there.”

An increase in food and gasoline sales in Macomb could be just two of the benefits that the park’s improvements will offer, according to Vigezzi. Torreson emphasized Hansen’s initiative.

“Mr. Hansen has made a lot of improvements in the park,” he said. “This is not a one-way contract at all.”

“I would make the motion that we further investigate the costs,” Alderman Don Wynn said.

Mayor Mike Inman recommended the motion be placed on a future sub-committee agenda to iron out the details.

Vigezzi moved to adopt the proposal, which passed with a vote of 6-1. As seen on the facility’s Facebook page, Spring Lake has a 9.0 out of 10 rating.

Members of the Western fraternity “Sigma Chi” may soon occupy a new house.

After filling out an application and requesting a special use permit, the group hopes to move into a home on North Avery Street in Macomb. The house sits in a multi-family zoning district, which means all property owners within 250 feet of the property were notified of the fraternity’s plans. A public hearing for the permit request was held last week, and the planning commission voted in favor of the permit with a vote of 9-0.

Confirmed by Inman and Vigezzi, the house had been used by fraternities in the past, meaning no structural changes need to be made. The discussion on Sigma Chi’s request will continue during next week’s meeting.

Picking up from previous discussions, the city council has now reached a conclusion with Chapter 17, Division 3 of the Municipal Code titled “Signs.” Due to a lack of clarity from the recent decision by the Supreme Court, the city of Macomb is now obligated to change their laws so that they comply.

“This is a full revision,” City Attorney Kristen Petrie said. “It brings it in compliance with the Supreme Court decision that calls for content-neutral regulation.”

Specifically, local governments are now prohibited from making laws that show bias to what is written on the signs. Instead, they may regulate the size, location and time in which the sign is placed. Through clearer words and definitions, the full rebuild now offers a crisp understanding of what the ordinance entails.

When they met in July, the planning commission voted 10-0 to approve the changes. The council voted to adopt the motion on Monday.

In a trio of mayoral appointments, Inman named Lin Stults to the Macomb Historic Preservation Commission, Marshal Ervin to the Macomb Liquor Advisory Commission and Steve Horrell to the Macomb Liquor Advisory Commission.

To wrap up the meeting, Inman took the time to recognize Western Illinois University’s football team. “I want to congratulate coach (Jared) Elliott and the Leathernecks on their first win,” Inman said. Elliott, a native of Tennessee, was promoted to head coach after his predecessor joined the coaching staff at Arizona State.

“We had a wonderful weekend in the community,” Inman said.