The honor of the annual lighting ceremony at the Square countdown will be given back to a special guest.
During the Highland City Council meeting on Oct. 16 Mayor Joe Michaelis announced that Miss Illiniois 2017 Abby Foster has accepted an invitation from the city to attend the annual Christmas parade and lighting ceremony, which is hosted by the Highland Chamber of Commerce.
In years past, Michaelis said it has been a tradition to invite Miss Illinois to the parade. But last year, he said that she was not able to come.
The council also approved the request to hold the event at its meeting. The theme for this year’s parade will be “12 Day of Christmas,” according to a memo from the chamber to the city.
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The parade will take its normal route. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the parade will leave the Lindenthal school campus and head west on Lindenthal Avenue. The parade will then turn north on Washington Street and will travel to the Square for the ceremony where Santa, Michaelis and Miss Illinois will light the holiday village in the park.
The Highland Municipal Band and the Highland High School Madrigal Singers will be playing music, and there will also be several food vendors at the event.
Other parade stuff approved/postponed
The council approved a request from the Highland Chamber of Commerce to stage its annual Christmas parade and downtown Square lighting ceremony.
The chamber requested that streets along the parade route and around the Square be closed from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., the city electric crew be on scene for the lighting ceremony, a police presence for crowd control and directing traffic. However, the council was not able to approve one of the chamber’s requests at the meeting.
The chamber also requested exclusive sales rights and control of vendors on the route in a two-block radius of the parade and the Square during the time frame relating to Christmas and/or the parade.
The chamber’s Executive Director Nancie Zobrist said at the meeting that they want to be able to monitor vendors for safety purposes. She said that, in years past, vendors have gone against the chamber’s directions not to walk in the street and in front of parade floats. This causes a safety hazard not only for the vendors themselves, but children who may follow them, Zobrist said..
The council decided to put off approving the vendor request until its next meeting on Nov. 6 to make sure that the chamber and the city can prohibit specific vendors, legally.
Women in Business Week
Mayor Joe Michaelis read a proclamation declaring Oct. 16 to the 20 as the Illinois Women in Business Week.
In honor of the week, Highland Police Officer Heather Kunz and Assistant City Manager Lisa Peck were recognized and awarded by the Highland Illinois Federation of Business Women Club Inc. for being role models in the community.
Special-use permit approved
The council approved the granting of a special-use permit to Julie Kutz and Anita Holman, after approving a resolution finding the property owned by Holman at 2000 Salmon Drive suitable for the operation of a home daycare.
Nila Keilbrach, a next door neighbor to the operation, recently filed an objection to the request, citing concerns about the traffic the business would to the cul de sac, according to a memo from Peck and Building & Zoning Supervisor Derek Jackson.
Kutz and Holman were then cited in August for operating the daycare without a special use permit, according to the memo.
The special-use permit will allow Kutz to operate her home daycare only if she cares for no more than eight children who are not related to her. The permit allows her to operate during any part of the day, but does not allow overnight stays.
The council approved the awarding of a bid to Frost Electric Supply Company Inc. for the purchase of lights inside the Korte Recreation Center’s pool area.
Mark Rosen, the director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said the pool area has been without lights on its north wall for over a year as the city has tried to determine the cause of the outage and the appropriate way to fix the issue.
“This has been a safety concern for us,” Rosen said in a memo to the city council.
The city received a total of four bids for the project, with Frost Electric Supply Company giving the lowest bid of $22,172.13. But, Rosen said Light & Power Director Dan Cook was able to secure an energy efficiency grant for $4,448, so the project will only cost the city $17,724.13.