Belleville OKs downtown 'Walk of Fame'

News-DemocratMay 19, 2014 

— The City Council on Monday approved a "Walk of Fame" honoring the city's historical figures, and bids for demolition of the old Loflin Furniture Store and building restrooms at Hough Park.

The Belleville Historical Society will develop a "Walk of Fame" in downtown Belleville to recognize those who made significant contributions to the city.

The dedication will take place on Oct. 25.

The inaugural inductees will be George Blair, Ninian Edwards, Lyman Trumbull, Christian "Buddy" Ebsen and Bob Goalby.

The historical group recommended the first five names. Future honorees, about two to four new names on every even-numbered year, will be approved by the City Council.

Bronze plaques, about 13 inches by 16 inches in size, will be placed on precast concrete pads in the grass area behind Curt's Clock in the northeast quadrant of the Public Square. The area has room for about 38 plaques.

Also on Monday:

* The council voted 11-2 to approve the low bid of $26,000 by S. Shafer Excavating to demolish the old Loflin Furniture building at 10610 W. Main St.

The cost includes removing asbestos, and grading and seeding the site.

The city-owned building is expected to be torn down within about 45 days and the area will be turned into green space.

The city voted to buy the Loflin building in January 2013 with $159,000 in tax increment financing funds to address nuisances.

Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden and Alderwoman-at-Large Lillian Schneider voted no. Hayden and Schneider were two of four aldermen who voted against the purchase of the building in 2013.

Ward 4 Alderman Jim Davidson, Ward 5 Alderman Phil Silsby and Ward 7 Alderman Trent Galetti were absent.

* The council voted to approve a low bid to make improvements at Hough Park by Mettler Development for $176,192.

The work includes new restrooms, a path connecting the restrooms to the trail and a drinking fountain. The park currently has portable restrooms.

The restrooms will be a modular, concrete facility -- similar to the restrooms at Bicentennial Park -- and open to the public year-round.

The restrooms are expected to be done by Oct. 1. When finished, the city will be reimbursed 25 percent of the initial project estimate, or about $35,756, through a Metro East Park and Recreation District grant.

* The council voted to approve an extension for FCB Bank to finish remodeling its new location at 401 S. Illinois St.

The bank was supposed to finish by May 1, according to a development agreement with the city. The bank now has until May 31.

According to the agreement, the bank gets abatement of sales tax on building materials estimated at $40,662; complete sidewalk improvements in the 400 block of South Illinois Street for about $20,759; and asbestos remediation and remodeling cost reimbursement up to $15,000.

In return, the bank shall invest no less than $750,000 at the existing vacant building; create eight full-time equivalent jobs within the first year and create two additional jobs in the second year.

The council also approved the following appointments, hires and promotions:

*Andy Gaa, John Hunter, Jack LeChien, Charles Moffat and Ashley Pollock will serve one-year terms on the Historic Preservation Commission.

* Dan Nollman, Don Rockwell and Patrick Sullivan will serve five-year terms on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

*Kevin R. Beck and Matthias J. Imgrund were hired as probationary firefighters.

* Jeffrey S. Fabrizio was promoted an engineer to fire captain and Daniel S. Kimball was promoted from a firefighter to an engineer.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 618-239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.

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