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Where the Rails Cross the River



January 15, 2020

I took a month off in writing this article due to the Holidays; but now I’m back at it. I hope all of you had a great Christmas season. And now, let’s get on with a new year in a new decade!

During our first Council meeting of the new year, we reviewed the accomplishments and activities of the City during 2019. Here were some of the highlights….

Rachael Parker resigned as our economic development director and Amanda Beadles was appointed to take her place. And, Jim Thornton retired from the Council and Barry Bredeman was appointed as the new 2nd Ward Alderman. We sold the property at 714 Fourth Street and the new Dollar General now sits there. We entered into a lease with CEFCU for a new ATM across Fourth Street from Beck’s and purchased a video billboard to be installed on the same lot; CEFCU has recently pulled a building permit and should start construction soon. Voters overwhelmingly approved our annexation to the Fire District and assets have been transferred. The Ride the Rails event occurred in May. The Council voted to approve recreational cannabis dispensaries in town. Our lawsuit against FLM’s gravel pit west of town is now in appellate Court and a decision should be forthcoming. Busy year; and interesting!

You probably know that ash trees are dying of disease; we have lost numerous trees around town. In an attempt to replenish them, we have planted new trees in City Park and in the City Cemetery. We plan to continue the effort moving forward and hope to again be designated as a Tree City.

The Eagle Watch Breakfast will be held at Shore Acres Park from 7:30 to 10:30 on February 8th. There will also be a ceremony, sort of a ribbon cutting, for a new public telescope that is being installed at the park. Come on out and have breakfast and, hopefully, spy some eagles.  See you there!

With the new decade upon us, the national 2020 census process is about to begin. It’s important that as many people as possible be counted. Among other things, the census determines the amount Motor Fuel Tax revenue the City will receive from the State for the next ten years. We receive an allocation from the State each year to pay for street improvements. That allocation is not determined by where you buy gas, but by where you live. So, the more people we count, the more money we get over the next decade.

It’s also used to determine how many representatives each State id allowed to send to Congress. With the current exodus of people leaving the State of Illinois, it becomes important that we get everyone to respond to the census, or we will end up with a lesser representation. Between March 12 to March 20, you will receive you census packet in the mail; you can respond by mail or on line. More to come as we get closer….

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


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