City Council discusses lift station repairs

Steven Barnum , News editor

Public Works Director Scott Coker shared with Macomb Aldermen on Monday evening that there’s a leak at the University Drive lift station.

The public works department discovered the leak on Easter weekend during a routine inspection. Coker said that workers tried to patch the leak but were unsuccessful in doing so. The department would need $100,000 to get the necessary materials to fix the issue.

“Everything is working currently, but we need to go back in and disconnect the pipes,” Coker said. “What we did was just a temporary fix.”

Coker said that the funding for the repairs will come out of the Wastewater Reserve Fund. That fund has about $800,000 available to spend at the start of the new fiscal year, which indicates that the city will be able to withstand the financial burden of the project. Once approved, the project is expected to be completed in five hours.

The newly named “Macomb Arts Center” is seeking a grant from the city of Macomb through the Downtown Renovation Grant Program.

Ron Patron, a volunteer board member for what was formerly the “West Central Arts Center,” spoke on behalf of the nonprofit organization. Patron said that the city loaned the group money to purchase the East Side Square location in 2008. Since then, it’s provided music, dance, crafts and photography-themed events for members of the Macomb community.

Recently, Patron shared that the fitting rooms were transformed into space that is now used for storage, office and a kitchen. The kitchen makes it possible for the organization to now prepare snacks and beverages during shows.

Additionally, they repaired faulty gutters and downspouts, fixed the exterior finish to the building where it was falling off and replaced the outdated heating and air conditioning units. This didn’t come without a cost, according to Patron, who referenced the $18,000 setback.

“We’re still trying to get our finances in order,” Patron said. “It’s very important as a nonprofit to capitalize on what we have and to make sure that every dollar we put in that we’re getting it back.”

If the city chooses them for the grant, the Macomb Arts Center would like to replace the siding, the windows on the first and second floors and improve the lighting.

“They need to be replaced,” Patron said. “And it will be reasonably inexpensive to make these updates tothe buildings.”

Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry said that the group plans to replace old doors and add a new sign to their structure. According to Terry, the town budgets $50,000 each year for the renovation grant; however, they wouldn’t be able to offer that amount at this time.

Aldermen Gayle Carper and Tom Koch said that they were in strong support of the plans to renovate the building and that they wish that there was more money available. They agreed that giving the amount that is currently in the grant is anappropriate decision.

Elsewhere, Chris Trotter was the only person to submit a proposal to improve the properties at 121 and 123 W. Jackson St. in Macomb. City Administrator Dean Torreson said that Trotter is offering the city $5,000 to redevelopthe locations.

The proposal includes plans for office space for the Western Illinois Regional Council. Part of the building would also be demolished in order to accommodate for extra parking space. The proposal will be on the agenda for first reading during nextweek’s meeting.

Mayor Mike Inman said that he was pleased to find out that Governor J.B. Pritzker selected Macomb as one of 28 local governments to receive grant money for the safe routes to school program. As discussed at previous meetings, the initiative encourages exercise through biking, while also making sure there is a clear and safe route for kids to walk to and from school. With the announcement, the city could construct new sidewalks and ramps near the schools.