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Streator park plans come before council

A number of Parks and Open Spaces Board projects came before the Streator City Council Wednesday night.

City Manager Scot Wrighton acknowledged that the Parks and Open Spaces Board has been kept busy lately over the past few months and a result of that work was on display during the city council meeting.

The city council approved the park board's Heritage Park revisions, greenway master plan and a three-year plan for City Park.

City Park

An updated three-year plan was detailed to the council which included adding a fence to the splash pad. The Parks and Open Spaces Board recommended the fence plan instead of considered alternatives such as a line of benches formed to make a barricade and a large bump out.

Councilman Joe Scarbeary asked if concrete posts were considered to protect the park from passing cars.

"The fence will keep the kids from running but it's not a protector," Scarbeary said.

City Engineer Jeremy Palm said posts were considered but the city ultimately not selected due to the parking lane adjacent to the curb, which would limit the chance of a vehicle accident at the location.

Wrighton added the fence decision was the cheapest option, but Palm added that price did not play into the decision.

The fence would resemble the fence currently surrounding the fountain at the park, minus spikes. One entrance would be available on the west side of the splash pad.

The three-year plan keeps most structures and features on the outer rim while planting additional trees in the park's interior to replace ones lost to the weather.

Greenway plan

The city council looked at the board's recommended greenway master plan. The original plan was created in 2002 and attempted to connect every neighborhood in Streator to the trail system. The Parks and Open Spaces Board determined that plan to not be practical given Streator's resources and instead created a trail system that connections key destinations and spaces such as Marilla Park and the Vermilion River.

Wrighton said the new plan can guide the city council with future decision making to work towards the new plan and the clearer focus makes it an important tool for acquiring grants.

Heritage Park

The Heritage Park landscape revisions consisted of the installation of a four-foot long faux brick street in front of the mural, relocating and adding two historic light fixtures, enlarging the brick paver area around the sitting wall for additional performance space for events, relocating the flagpole to an area behind the clock, installing a panel fence between the Monroe Tap building and the HR Block building and painting the single-story section of that building to complement the mural.

In addition to the landscaping, the city sold two small tracts of land to the nearby Monroe Tap, 110 N. Monroe St., in exchange for exterior improvements. The city gave the business owner the tracts of land in exchange for the business repainting its south facade in a city-selected color to complement Heritage Park as well as improvements to the east facade in conjunction with the city’s facade program.

Can facade grant applicants apply twice?

The council also approved a facade grant application for Ronald Ondek Jr., owner of 121 and 125 N. Park St., also known as the Parkway Club tavern and former Canale real estate building. The grant will go towards awnings and a sign for the new restaurant “Sticks and Stone” opening at the former Canale building.

It was noted that the owners had previously utilized the grant program to replace their windows and were now returning a second time. Palm said there was some discussion among Plan Commission members whether a policy should be enacted to have firm guidelines as to whether or not applicants can return to the program.

Council members noted this particular project was in keeping with the program’s goal of improving the downtown, but a policy should be adopted. Scarbeary asked that a policy is brought before the council at the next meeting.

Closed session discussion

The council met in closed session for nearly one hour. No discussion was held following the meeting but Wrighton said a special meeting would be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 to further discuss the issue.

In other business, the board approved:

  • A bid from Universal Asphalt & Excavating Inc., of La Salle, for $334,051.20 for road work on Bluff Street, Rush Street and the downtown alleys.
  • A bid from Opperman Construction Company, of Pontiac, for $28,957.50 for the supply of gravel for the Public Works field crew which will be used for the spray patch machine, alley repairs and more.
  • A bid from Asphalt Sales Company, of Jacksonville, for $26,768 for the supply of emulsified oil for the public works field crew to be used for the spray patch machine.
  • An ordinance amending tax increment financing district No. 1 so surplus funds can be transferred to other tax increment financing districts.

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