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Will Chester build a new water tower?

Contributing Writer
updated: 5/29/2019 4:04 PM

Chester Alderman Russ Rader told the city council this week that the city needs to start looking at the possibility of building an additional water tower.

Rader said the city's Water Department has been very busy repairing multiple breaks to water mains across Chester, due to increased water pressure in the system, caused by the main water tower near the grade school not in use.

The tower is being repaired and painted. And while it will eventually come back online, the city's old holding tank near the VFW is no longer an option since the Environmental Protection Agency has restricted its use.

At Monday's city council meeting, Rader explained the city is using the water tower north on Route 3, but pumping water back into Chester makes it difficult to regulate the water pressure. Rader believes the city needs to begin looking into building an additional water tower to help prevent such occurrences in the future.

Streets vacated

The council has vacated two streets and approved a bid for expanding another.

The council conducted hearings concerning vacating a 20-foot-wide alley and a 12-foot-wide alley between Gleason Hill, Chester Street and Second Street in Block 14 of the Cole and Erskines Addition and a portion of Dawnview Drive.

The council heard from Gary and Jeana Kothe of G&J Towing & Recovery Inc., who made the Dawnview request. The company has purchased the land on both sides of Dawnview with plans to move their business to this location. The council approved vacating these requested areas. The city will still maintain any easements concerning utilities located in these areas.

The council also proceeded with the turn-lane expansion on Route 3 North at the entrance of Chester Center. Red Dot Construction was the low bidder at $315,005.87. Harold Sheffer of J.T. Blankenship Inc. reported that the construction will use concrete rather than asphalt as the prices are similar. One entrance to the area will be closed, leaving three entry points. This construction will begin after final approval from IDOT.

>b>Coming database will help business

Shane Wagner of the Chester Planning Commission said the commission has been working for several months on compiling available sites for future businesses to come to Chester. They would like to start a database and make this information available on a website, providing a list of properties for sale or lease to potential new businesses. The site would also give an overview of what businesses are already established here. Mayor Page praised this committee for its hard work and initiative, and the council supports this project.

Popeye Trail visitors to use QR codes

Brenda Owen of the Beautification/Tourism Commission said her group has been working to place "QR" codes on each of the Popeye statues on the Popeye Character Trail, to allow visitors to access information on each character by using their smartphones. The codes will connect visitors to a website that houses the information through a link on the Chester Library website. These QR codes would be placed on a small plaque attached to the base of each statue.

Mural to reflect Chester history

Owen also reported on plans for designing and painting a new mural depicting Chester's significant history. The River City Renewal will administer this pursuit. They are looking at using the side of the old Jim Frazer building next to the Laundromat. The Beautification Commission has contacted local artists Ted and Diana Mueller concerning the design and painting. This mural would join others in the area, which depict Gilster Mary Lee history and Popeye characters.

The Commission has also been looking into sending a letter to the Corp of Engineers to place riprap along the banks of the riverfront with the approval of the Council. The Council approved sending this letter and encouraged individuals to write letters to them as well.

New appointments

The council approved the mayor's appointment of Terri Maes and Viviene Zobel to the Parks and Recreation Board. The council also approved hiring Dennis Hopkins and Dennis Hartenberger as part-time employees -- Hopkins to work where needed and Hartenberger to work with the Water Department as it begins mapping the City's water lines, valves and shut-offs on GPS.

Other news

• The council approved the proposed Budget and Statement of Estimated Income for fiscal year 2020 and set the annual hearing date for the appropriation ordinance at 5:30 p.m. June 17.

• The council approved a four-year contract with the police dispatchers which includes a 2% raise and a shift differential.

• The council also approved setting beginning salaries and salary caps for city employees along with salary increases for them. Approval was also given to increase the amount paid to employees who pursue additional certification/licenses pertaining to their work.

• The council approved a new ordinance relating to council members who refuse to attend meetings. If a commissioner does not contact the mayor or his secretary prior to the meeting informing them they are going to be absent, they will forfeit their pay for that meeting and be penalized an additional $50.