Committee recommends city purchase burned down auto body property | News


DANVILLE — The Danville City Council’s Public Works Committee recommended purchasing a former auto body shop property on South Gilbert Street where a burned structure has been sitting.

City officials chose not to spend years going after the owner through court to get the fire-damaged building torn down. City officials said there was no insurance to tear down the building.

Instead, the committee Tuesday night recommended purchasing 7 and 11 E. Second St. for $45,000 from Richard L. Speich of Potomac. The full city council will act on the purchase next week.

Danville Community Development Administrator Logan Cronk said there are three lots south of Long John Silver’s, where Rucker’s Auto Body Shop burned down. The intent is to get the site cleaned and get rid of two blighted garages as well on the lots, he said.

The lots will be bundled with another blighted house to the north that is going to the Vermilion County Trustee this summer, in addition to the city working on another lot to the west.

Cronk said the concrete pad there also is owned by a land holding company he’s trying to contact.

The parcels will be put together for a developable lot on South Gilbert Street, city officials said.

“I get tired of the city cleaning up everyone else’s problem,” said alderman Mike O’Kane.

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said he’d rather have a new business there paying property and sales taxes.

Williams added that the city could put a lien on the property but also pay $80,000 to $90,000 in an asking price. This will cost the city $5,000 to $6,000 to take the debris to the dump, he said.

Also Tuesday, the public works committee heard from three former city employees, Doug Ahrens, David Schnelle and Jaclyn Vinson, and Three Kings of Peace’s Frank McCullough and Ed Butler about American Rescue Plan Act funding plans.

Ahrens said he’s concerned about costs with a proposed new pool, with the pool losing money through the years when including management costs; and families not having access to the Garfield Park pool and fees that will be charged in the future when families can’t afford it.

He suggested using more ARPA funds for the riverfront.

He also asked the city to reconsider the sewer fee and possibly reducing it for residents and businesses.

McCullough and Butler said it’d be a disservice if the city doesn’t help with costs for their proposed mentoring center in the former Steel Grip building at Garfield Park.

City officials had suggested the group possibly renovate a space near New Life Church of Faith on Bowman Avenue at a lower cost. Williams said about $100,000 could be spent versus nearly $1 million.

Schnelle talked about how the city already has strategic and riverfront plans from the past sitting on shelves with proposed projects, such as the Jackson Street corridor shared-use path extension. He too said the pool doesn’t bring money into the community, and other city facilities “do swimming better” than the city.

The council is to vote next week on an ARPA spending plan. Funding needs to be allocated by 2024.

Vinson said she supports the trails alliance partnership, but asked for the city to have a public survey on the almost $25 million in ARPA COVID-19 relief funds’ spending plan, before a final vote.

She and McCullough also questioned why the city was buying four houses to tear down on Fairchild Street related to the Garfield Park improvements proposed using ARPA funds.

Williams responded that ARPA funding isn’t being used for the property purchases, but economic redevelopment funds, and said demolitions would provide for clearer sight and safety in the park and blight removal if the council doesn’t move forward with park and pool plans.

Some aldermen and city officials said they don’t want public comments to be made political. They said platforms are being made already for next year’s mayor and aldermen election.

In other business, the committee recommended approving:

  • Purchasing properties at: 1108 E. Fairchild St. for $45,000 from Stonehearth LLC, of SE Mercer Island, Wash.; 1120 E. Fairchild St. for $20,000 from Greg Filicsky of Sidell; 1122 E. Fairchild St. for $45,000 from Nightmare LLC of Hoopeston; and 1126 E. Fairchild St. for $40,000 from Kendall S. Carter of that address. There are residential, including rental, properties and one vacant lot.
  • Road maintenance contracts: $241,321 for crack sealing with Denler Inc.; $632,116 for seal coat with Daniel L. Ribbe Trucking; $1.9 million for cape seal with A.C. Pavement Striping; $454,663 for concrete patching with Feutz Contractors; $324,981 for Columbia Street reconstruction (Vermilion to Walnut streets) with A & A Concrete; $432,400 for Beard Street reconstruction (Main to Grove streets) with Stark Excavating Inc.; and $150,433 for miscellaneous concrete improvement with Big O Services. The city is using motor fuel tax funds for the work.
  • Purchasing a fare vending machine for $86,739 from SPX Genfare for inside Danville Mass Transit’s downtown transfer center. This will offer another location to purchase bus tickets in addition to the administrative building at 101 N. Jackson St. Debit and credit cards are not compatible with on-bus fareboxes. Some customers prefer to get tickets, and use credit or debit cards, instead of using cash. There is no room to include additional equipment on the buses, according to DMT Director Lisa Beith.
  • Authorizing repair of a storm sewer under Old Ottawa Road for $32,175 with Cross Construction.
  • Amending the fiscal year 2022-2023 Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IDHA) Abandoned Property Program fund budget and Stronger Communities Program budget by $18,068 for two demolitions.
  • Amending the IDHA blight reduction program and community reinvestment budgets. Due to missed reimbursement submittals by the city to IHDA for 15 demolitions costing $186,437 (the city only later received partial payment of $99,415 for four demolitions), the city’s Blight Reduction Program fund had a negative cash balance of $98,785. The city will transfer funds from the Community Reinvestment Fund to cover those costs.


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