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  • Kent Casson

Buildings remain in poor shape

(A downtown sidewalk is blocked off in Chenoa)

Questions were once again raised at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Chenoa City Council about the status of crumbling buildings in town.

“How do you keep it from becoming the city’s problem?” resident Larry Leggett asked during public comment.

“Right now, we’ve got four buildings that are falling down,” said Mayor David Shane.

The mayor admitted it is a safety issue now and City Attorney Steve Mann said there is an Illinois Unsafe Buildings Act statute.

Shane is planning to meet with the owner of the structure across from City Hall later in the week and will keep discussions going on the status of the other buildings.

Also during public comment, Andrew Jolly revealed possible ideas for farm ground located just south of town which include a corn maze and even a corn maze beer fest to be held in conjunction with OB’s Cervezaria.

“I think it’d be a great opportunity for Chenoa,” Jolly explained.

The property is somewhat land-locked as it is near the football field which the city owns. Jolly may ask for use of the football field to enter his area. Jolly would like to see this expand into an agritourism destination with possibly even a haunted corn maze.

He is trying to figure out something unique and different for the 60-acre field.

Mayor Shane gave an update on water system improvement plans.

“We did a lot of changing on the original map,” he told the council.

They will put a line down Crittenden Street which means surface lines will have to be redone. The cost is slightly over $4 million and it could result in a $20 per account raise on water bills.

“There is going to be a public forum for this loan when we get this figured out,” noted Shane.

Work is also starting on a comprehensive plan for the city as the last one was done in 2009. This is outdated as census numbers have changed.

“This will help us in our grant program.”

Priorities include figuring out what to do with downtown buildings and developing the area behind McDonald’s near Interstate 55. Shane feels that could be a major sales tax benefit for Chenoa.

Attorney Steve Mann reported on a recent IML Attorney Conference which covered distressed buildings and records retention.

Commissioner Zack Lopeman noted crews have been working on collecting brush with the warmer weather here. They have also been working on the salt shed along with equipment maintenance.

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