O’Fallon has hired a different consulting and construction firm to work on other options to get the downtown plaza pavilion and parking plans moving again after the Destination O’Fallon project stalled this summer.
Two motions on the issue met with some confusion at the City Council meeting Monday, but an eventual 10-4 vote moved the project forward by approving a contract with Millennia Professional Services, not to exceed $171,800.
In December, the city had hired the firm SWT to performing schematic design services for the downtown plaza project at a cost of $62,410.
Ten aldermen thought they had talked enough about downtown plaza issues without revisions, and wanted to see what else could be done, while four aldermen wanted it returned to committee for further discussion.
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Original plans for a new plaza, expected to revitalize downtown, hit a few snags, so revisions are being explored. Parking, lighting and gathering space concerns have come up, and a gas line under the proposed gazebo location was discovered.
The multipurpose downtown plaza, to be located at the corner of First and Vine streets, includes plans for a dedicated event space and additional parking.
A gravel parking lot is there now, and that is the Santa Hut location.
Alderman Ned Drolet proposed returning it to committee, said it hadn’t been discussed before showing up on agenda.
City Administrator Walter Denton explained that the Parks and Environment Committee had discussed it, while Parks and Recreation Director Mary Jeanne Hutchinson explained why it was necessary to find out other options.
“The project has been at a standstill, and we wanted to see what the next step to what we’ve already started should be,” Denton said.
Finding out what is needed to be done is key, Hutchinson said.
“I was told to get it moving again, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” she said.
Plans for the Scale House and the Santa Hut need to be determined.
The public had input at a workshop in January and online surveys.
In other action, the Milburn School Road Commercial Development was approved. Three aldermen still opposed it: Mark Morton, Dan Witt and Drolet.
“I’ve been against this from the beginning,” Witt said, noting that a coffeehouse or fast-casual eatery was preferable to a drive-thru restaurant, but he has talked to residents, and they do not want a Walgreen’s or CVS there either.
The council approved an agreement with Sherbut-Carson-Claxton for the design of the Misty Valley Subdivision drainage improvements for $19,500.
Public events, presentations
▪ St. Clare of Assisi Parish received a proclamation in honor of its 150th anniversary. The Rev. Jim Deiters and trustees John Dempsey and Michael Crupe were on hand for the presentation.
▪ A special Mass will take place Saturday, Oct. 7, at 4 p.m. at the church, as part of the “150 Days for 150 Years” Sesquicentennial Celebration. Prelude music begins at 3:30 p.m. and a light reception will follow.
▪ Fire Chief Brent Saunders also received a proclamation from the mayor, who declared Oct. 8-14 Fire Prevention Week.
▪ The mayor announced the recently formed exploratory Homecoming Committee has decided to name the proposed annual event the O’Fallon City Fest.
▪ An O’Fallon Town Hall meeting is set for Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
▪ Ward 3 Aldermen Matthew Gilreath and Kevin Hagarty will have a Town Hall meeting in their ward Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
▪ Ward 4 Aldermen Matt Smallheer and Mark Morton will have a Town Hall meeting for their ward Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Building.