The James Brockmeyer memorial now has its official location.
In an unanimous decision on Monday, the Chester City Council approved designating the former Pinky's Sugarland lot at the corner of State and Opdyke streets as the location for the memorial to the fallen Chester Police officer and volunteer firefighter, who was fatally injured in the line of duty on Oct. 28.
Chester Mayor Tom Page noted he had previously discussed the logistics of honoring Brockmeyer locally with the council members and saw it fitting that the memorial be placed near the start of the proposed "James I. Brockmeyer Memorial Highway," which is a segment of State Route 3 from State Street to Water Street.
"I think it's a great corner for it to be on," Page said.
Chester Police Chief Ryan Coffey noted that members of Brockmeyer's family had been notified of the memorial months ago and approved it.
"They're well aware of this project," he said.
Page noted that the memorial space could be extended to include park benches and the possibility of a short wall that says "Welcome to Chester, Illinois." He added that he is reaching out to the SIU School of Architecture to help with the memorial's design.
In other action, the council honored former city treasurer Donna Clendenin with a plaque for her years of service to the city. Clendenin served from May 5, 2003 to April 30 of this year.
"It's been an extreme pleasure working with you," Page said, while stating he appreciated her loyalty to Chester.
"You gave me several years of interesting things," Clendenin said with a chuckle.
In other news, the council discussed the possibility of one-sided parking on several city streets.
Alderman Robert Platt, a representative of Ward 3, noted there were four sections of the city he was concerned about, but George Street (from Stacy to German) and Swanwick Street (from German to Knapp) generated the most debate during the meeting.
"The point is streets were originally meant for transportation, not a parking lot," Platt said. "But almost everybody's got an alleyway, driveway or garage to park in instead of in front of their house."
Platt noted a "good number" of small children live in the area of George Street and was concerned about parking on both sides of the street being a safety issue.
Chester Mayor Tom Page noted the issue of one-side parking had been raised four years ago and letters were sent to the residents of George and Swanwick streets to gauge their opinion, with most not being in favor of the idea.
"I guess it depends on what residents of the area want," said Chester Police Chief Ryan Coffey.
Coffey said that limiting parking to one side would increase through traffic, as well as speeds. On George Street, it was noted that local traffic attempts to use it as a shortcut to get around the coal truck traffic that turns at the three-way stop.
"If you widen the roads up, the speed will increase," Coffey said.
Alderman Ray Allison asked the council if it would be possible to try one-side parking on Swanwick Street on a trial basis. City Attorney Jeff Kerkhover noted the council would have to pass an ordinance and then repeal it if the council desired.
Alderman Donnie Clark asked how Swanwick Street parking for sporting events at Chester High School would be affected.
Page suggested that the residents of Swanwick Street be invited to come to the council's next meeting, scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m., and voice their opinion of the issue during public comment.
In other traffic-related discussion, Platt asked to have a "no tractor-trailers" sign be posted on Allendale Boulevard. Coffey said he had two discussions with Beelman Truck Company regarding the issue and managed to speak with a company dispatcher during the second conversation.
Coffey noted that the dispatcher mentioned specifying a new route for the truck drivers.
"The problem is these drivers aren't looking at signs, they're looking at their GPS," Platt said.
• Bills were approved in the amount of $77,711.72 and raffle licenses were approved for the American Legion, Popeye Picnic Cruise and the Popeye Picnic Committee.
• The council approved the purchase of a new gate for the former ballfield at Cole Park, which would be wide enough to accommodate a tractor-trailer, and the purchase of backstop work for Field 2 at the Cohen Complex. City Clerk Bethany Berner noted that the city's insurance carrier had paid the city $32,000 to cover the cost of repairs.
• The council approved an agreement for concessions with Barb's Bounty for a time period of Aug. 1 to Oct. 31.
• The council approved the annual prevailing wage rate and an agreement for water and sewer services with Jericho Property Management, LLC
• The council approved an ordinance for sale of city surplus property, which it discussed at its previous meeting on May 15. The following people were the winning bidders - Roger Holley (1984 Ford F250 truck: $200; homemade trailer: $45; Rand Air 85: $200 and four jackhammers: $20 total), Kimberly Greatting (1999 Dodge Ram 2500: $175; 1999 Buick LeSabre: $200; Skates: $5/pair), Ruth Renner (1984 Chevrolet K2500: $526; Western Snow Plow: $125; Adjustable blade: $60) and Randy Kaempfe (2008 Dodge Charger: $100; 1996 Chevrolet K2500: $75).
• In his report Chester Fire Chief Marty Bert reported his agency responded to 11 calls for service in May, with the only call of significance was the Makanda woman who jumped off the Chester Bridge on May 5.
Bert noted that the firefighters who responded that night - Lorin Mott, Scott Stirnaman, Josh Ruch, Glen Andrews and Jeff Hammel - have been nominated for a Hero Award, with a presentation scheduled for June 19 at 7 p.m. in Belleville.