Macomb City Council will sell West Jackson Street property

Steven Barnum , News editor

On Election Night Eve, the Macomb City Council approved an ordinance that will allow members of the public to submit proposals to buy property on West Jackson Street.

According to City Administrator Dean Torreson, a local judge ruled that 121 W Jackson and 123 W Jackson will become city property by the end of April. The buildings were deemed abandoned as of March 26, so city leaders are planning to sell them once they receive the title for the property. The buildings offer more than 20,000 in square footage, but Torreson said their condition is deteriorating.

Requests to purchase the property require those interested to fill out a form detailing the following information: how much money they are willing to pay for the property; what their plans are; how long they plan to complete their plans; and what improvements they plan on making to make. The proposal forms are due April 19 at the city clerk’s office. Torreson estimates that the city could select a winner for the purchase by May and approve the proposal by June.

With unanimous approval, the city council also accepted the proposal from the Macomb Flags of Love and Memorial Bricks.

The group met with the council last week during the committee whole meeting to discuss their plans to honor local deceased war veterans. They typically display 850 flags in Chandler Park, each flag representing a veteran. After running out of space, the group is seeking to include a memorial of bricks to their display.

City Attorney Kristen Petrie said that the display will be on the south side of the park’s fountain and that the group will be responsible for construction and maintenance. Mayor Mike Inman said that the group worked on their plan for two years and is eager to get started on the project. Given that the display is a popular memorial in the community, the council recognizes the significance.

“I’d really like to thank the committee for the work they’ve done to honor our veterans,” Alderman Annette Carper said. “I really appreciate that.”

In a separate decision, the city of Macomb also decided to reduce the rental registration fees. The initial fee will decrease from $75 to $25 and the late fee will fall from $150 to $50.

During next week’s committee of the whole meeting, aldermen will discuss issuing a special use permit for an individual to use the property at 833 N Lafayette St. to maintenance vehicles. Petrie said that nobody objected to the request at the planning commission meeting. If approved, the new license will only be able to keep up to 18 vehicles on the property at once, will have to construct a privacy fence, and must have the parking lot paved within one year. Also on next week’s agenda is a discussion regarding the budget for May 1, 2019 until April 30, 2020. According to Petrie, the budget will total $27,118,312 and Monday will be the official public hearing for the proposal.

To prepare for the 2020 census, Inman named four people with ties to Western Illinois University to the Census Committee. Based on a press release from the Census Bureau, Inman said that citizens can complete all necessary information online, on the phone or through mail. To make sure that the city receives the most accurate count and return rate, Inman and fellow members of the Census Committee will attend census-related conferences this week.

Inman congratulated students at Western for their leadership and dedication after raising $160,100 for children with cancer and life-threatening diseases. The campus event, “Dance Marathon,” was held Saturday.

“It was my pleasure to be associated with bringing them greeting and enthusiasm and support from the Macomb community as they engaged in the culmination of years worth of effort,” Inman said.

Inman also recognized Illinois State Trooper Gerald Ellis who was killed Saturday on Interstate 94 in Green Oaks, Ill. Ellis was a Western graduate and father of two children.