Belleville OKs asbestos removal at building used by Art on the Square

News-DemocratNovember 18, 2013 

Art on the Square is held in downtown Belleville each May.

— The Belleville City Council voted Monday night to approve the cost of asbestos removal at a city-owned building downtown used by the Art on the Square committee.

Mayor Mark Eckert said the city has the responsibility to address the asbestos once officials learn of the problem at 30 Public Square. Councilmen agreed and approved $6,350 for the work.

The asbestos issue, however, brought to light that city officials cannot find a written agreement with the nonprofit Art on the Square to use the building.

Some aldermen, including Ward 7 Alderman Trent Galetti and Ward 2 Alderwoman Melinda Hult, asked why the city owns the building and why Art on the Square is allowed to use the building without paying rent or utilities.

Eckert said he does not believe the city should charge Art on the Square rent.

At a Finance Committee meeting last week, Eckert said: "It's been a gentlemen's agreement that they've done fabulous things for the city and we in turn let them use the building."

Eckert said he will talk to Patty Gregory, and other Art on the Square organizers, about the need for written terms on building use.

Hult said she will ask city leaders to discuss at future committee meetings whether the city should retain ownership of the 30 Public Square site.

Also on Monday:

* Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden asked City Attorney Garrett Hoerner to explain municipal code that allows the censuring of an alderman.

Hayden said his request was prompted by a statement that Ward 2 Alderwoman Janet Schmidt read at a City Council meeting on Oct. 21 that he felt was "done to evoke malice."

Hoerner said Illinois Municipal Code allows the majority of council to remove an alderman from a meeting if the alderman is being lewd, disgraceful or not obeying the chairperson. Hoerner said the action should be taken at the meeting where the behavior occurred.

* The city presented a proclamation to Lindenwood University-Belleville to recognize the campus' 10th anniversary.

* The council voted 11-5 to approve a $137,640 contract with Kaskaskia Engineering for the second phase of the West Belleville bike trail project.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at

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