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  • Kent Casson

Council hears Route 66 festival preview

"Mother Road millions" will be available during the Red Carpet Corridor Festival.

Excitement is building for the 16th annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival which Chenoa will be a part of.

This year’s event is May 6-7 in towns up and down the famous highway. Bloomington-Normal has been added which expands the festival to 100 miles and 14 communities.

Local Red Carpet volunteer Sarah Michaels told members of the Chenoa City Council Tuesday night that Route 66 is one of the top three tourist destinations in the state.

“If we can do everything possible to dress-up everything about the town,” Michaels said.

There is a chance Chenoa could have a thousand visitors coming through that weekend.

“We need to embrace it as much as we can,” she added.

Melissa Cooper has organized vendor booths for the festival with money going back into the Red Carpet Corridor. More than 20 vendors will be featured along with food vendors and a couple of food trucks.

Visitors to Chenoa can get their “Mother Road millions” papers by visiting Michaels at the downtown gazebo.

Plans for a new Route 66 sign in Chenoa were revealed during the council meeting. A grant was applied through the state for the sign which will serve as a photo opportunity.

“There is a nice place to sit and have a photo-op,” said Mayor Chris Wilder, who worked on this effort with Michaels.

This will be placed at the intersection of Routes 66 and 24.

“Initially, we will pay for it and the grant reimburses that fund,” noted Wilder.

Also at Tuesday’s Chenoa City Council meeting, it was revealed there were no bids turned in for the Silliman Lake seawall and pier. The council could formally accept a quote from someone and work directly on it or put it out for bid again. Attorney Steve Mann said the city can vote to waive the bidding requirement. More discussion is planned in the future.

Nancy Todd presented a city park projects update. She indicated how far things have come at the park by showing a photo of the old restrooms before the new ones were built. Pavilions have been painted and upgraded as well.

“We bought quite a few new picnic tables,” explained Todd.

New playground equipment is inclusive and a communication board allows those with difficulty expressing themselves to be able to communicate. A recognition board was recently mounted which lists all of those involved with the projects.

“A lot of people have helped make this park happen in two years,” observed Todd.

Todd wondered if the city would consider using a restricted fund to finish the sidewalk.

An agreement to vacate tile at 320 Crittenden Street was authorized. This agreement is between the city and Zachary Lopeman. A paragraph in the agreement was amended, allowing Lopeman to pay for the gravel and the city still covering the materials.

“It’s been an ongoing thing,” stated Streets Commissioner Dwayne Price.

“I’ve been trying to get all of this done since 2019,” said Lopeman.

In another matter, Commissioner Chad Daiker suggested putting a system in place to regulate swimming pool passes. This could include purchasing a digital camera for photos and keeping the information at the gate. More discussion is likely at upcoming meetings.

Water and Sewer Commissioner Joe Moreland reported hydrant flushing is taking place. Once the flushing is done, Moreland suggested flushing hot water heaters.

Price noted plenty of city work is planned, including patching of roads and tree trimming. He has a summer work crew coming in.

“They’re all really reliable,” said Price.

Price expects to talk with an engineer about MFT money to see how much the city will receive to repair streets.

Mayor Wilder revealed the city’s ESDA director, Reg Allan, has turned in his resignation. He has been with the city for over 14 years.

“He did a great job for us and was always there when we needed him,” stated Wilder.

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