O'Fallon Progress

City takes ownership of Homecoming Association building, wagons

Mayor Herb Roach announced at Monday’s O’Fallon City Council meeting that the city now has the title to the building that was built by the Homecoming Association, but on city property.

“It’s been smoothed over, and we have the title to the equipment and the float beds,” Roach said, in addition to thanking Roger Van Etten and his family for all their efforts on the Christmas parade, homecoming and other city activities over the years.

Plans for the annual Illuminated Holiday Parade continue, as local businesswoman Beth Ortega has agreed to be the chairman and coordinator of the event. The parade is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25.

The O’Fallon Homecoming Association announced last week that it would not sponsor the parade again because of no money or manpower. It had taken place, usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving, for about 25 years.

Ortega said the Homecoming Association’s 15 floats will be fixed.

The mayor said there is a new parade route. It is going to go up Lincoln, then to State, right to Vine, then over to the Santa Hut.

City Clerk Jerry Mouser told the aldermen he is arranging a pontoon boat for the float, and any alderman and city official is welcome to be on it during the parade.

In other business, the mayor also publicly apologized to Vest Farms for the errors, confusion and comments regarding a special event permit request to operate a seasonal Pumpkin Patch from Oct. 1-31 at 1250 N. Lincoln. The council approved the special event permit on Oct. 16, but Alderman Jerry Albrecht had opposed it, stating that the patch had been open several weeks, and questioned why they didn’t seek a permit earlier.

Roach said, upon investigation, the city discovered a clerical error resulted in the council not acting on it until the Oct. 16 meeting, but that the Vests had submitted it earlier in September. And their check to the city had been cashed before that meeting.

“On behalf of the city, I apologize. It had nothing to do with anybody at Vest Farms. It was a city error. You did everything right,” Roach said.

A representative of the Vest Farm thanked the mayor for the apology, and then asked about other pumpkin patches who did not seek permits, such as the one Alderman Albrecht’s church operated.

The mayor said he did not want to comment on that.

The council also:

▪ The council approved agreement with DMS Contracting for the Commerce Drive Apron Reconstruction Project for $91,636.38.

▪ The council approved issuing bonds for the special service area not exceeding $250,000 on Greenmount Commercial, $700,000 on Regency Extension, and $1.1 million on Shoppes at Greenmount. This provides for a levy of a direct tax on taxable property for the payment of principal and interest.