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Where the Rails Cross the River



February 12, 2020

A final update on the FLM gravel pit litigation…. The City of Chillicothe, along with the Peoria County Zoning Department have been fighting this case since 2010 in order to not allow a gravel pit just west of town, and along the south side of Truitt, that would partially block the City’s growth to the west. As you might remember, we won the case locally but it was sent on to the appellate court in Ottawa where we recently learned the verdict was overturned. The primary piece of evidence that caused the reversal is a letter from the zoning department to FLM stating that is was permissible for them to dig as a non-conforming use – “if you can’t rely on the zoning department’s opinion, who can you rely on?”

Our next step would be to request a re-hearing at the appellate level and/or take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court. However, Peoria County has decided not to join us in any further pursuit because they believe there is little chance for success; we would have to go it alone. Without the County involved to defend the damning letter, we would have even a lesser chance. And the additional cost to the City for legal fees is estimated at $25,000 to $30,000. And so, at our last Council meeting, we decided not fight the fight any longer. A hard-fought battle, but….

The Council also approved a new TIF Grant Application for use by business owners and/or developers as an incentive to upgrade distressed properties in the Downtown TIF District. The City maintains two TIF Districts. The Plaza TIF is expiring this year and the Downtown TIF expires in 2022. And so, there is a limited time, and limited funds, available for incentives. Accordingly, the City’s Economic Development Committee plans to gather any and hopefully all applications over the next few months, and then prioritize those applications based upon their merits. And so, if you plan to submit an application, please plan to do it sooner rather than later. Applications are available at City Hall.

One of our police officers, Officer Murphy, has submitted his resignation effective February 14. We would like to thank him for his service over the last five years. Thank you!

Speaking of vacancies, the City has an opening for a new public works employee. It’s a full-time position with good union wages and benefits. One requirement is that an applicant must have a commercial driver’s license, a CDL. If you’re interested, or know someone that might be, you’ll find the full advertisement in the newspaper. The deadline is February 21.

The 2020 census is fast approaching. I have learned of a web site that answers almost any question about the census. To learn more and to dispel myths, please visit his link – https://2020census.gov/en/how-to-help.html.

serve the primary healthcare needs of our community. Once it is constructed, the existing building will be torn down in order to construct a new parking lot to serve the new facility. Fourth Street continues to transform….

The Chillicothe Public Library is about to launch an exciting NEA Big Read grant project with programs in February and March centered on the novel Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. A list of events is posted on the library’s web site. The kick off event will be held at IVC High School auditorium on Thursday, February 20, and will celebrate Mexican culture with performances by the Peoria Folklore Ballet and Mariachi Viva Tecalitlan. If you haven’t heard mariachi music before, this is a must!

At our last Council meeting, we proclaimed February 8 as Bald Eagle Day in Chillicothe. The Eagle Watch Breakfast will be held at Shore Acres Park from 7:30 to 10:30 on that day. There will also be the unveiling of a new public telescope being installed at the park. Come on out and have breakfast and, hopefully, spy some eagles. See you there!

That’s all for this time. See you around town!


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