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RANTOUL — Rantoul’s food hub will be equipped with a walk-in cooler where produce can be kept until producers wash and pack it.
The village board last week approved the purchase of the cooler from McCormick Service for $27,165.
The USDA earlier awarded a $55,000 grant for the food hub, and purchase of the cooler will come from that funding.
The walk-in cooler will be installed in a bay at the Rantoul Business Center.
Roman Fox, Rantoul Township High School ag teacher and food hub board member, said the cooler will be built on site and is similar to a fruit and vegetable refrigerator used by restaurants.
A food hub is a business or organization that manages the aggregation, distribution and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy. Customers can range from farmers markets to restaurants or wholesale operations.
The Rantoul food hub, known as Chanute Fields, is located on the former Chanute Air Force Base.
Chanute Fields leases acreage from the village of Rantoul. Several tenants grow produce on site from sweet corn to corn made for making tea to brambles and apple trees. The tenants pay a membership fee like they would to any cooperative.
Tanks to be painted
In other business, the board approved a painting, maintenance and servicing agreement with Maxcor Inc. at a cost of $856,400 for two village elevated tanks.
One is a 1-million gallon tank at Campbell Avenue and Tanner Street, which will be cleaned, serviced and painted both inside and out, and the other is the half-million gallon tower on North Maplewood, which will be cleaned, serviced and receive a fresh exterior coating.
The board also authorized the purchase of various equipment for the village electric system from Advanced Control Systems at a cost of $110,346.
The equipment includes electric supervisory control and data acquisition upgrades, five new RTU units, ACS PRISM upgrade, DNP net system wide license, ePRISM and eAlarm software for the upgrade of the electric supervisory control and data acquisition system.
The board approved a Neighborhood Small Grant Program manual. The program will provide funds for small-scale neighborhood improvements.
Neighborhood Services Coordinator Brenda Runyon explained the new grant program at the April 4 study session.
Modeled after a similar program in Champaign, the program’s objective is to develop additional engagement to focus on the cleanup and revitalization of neighborhoods. The village has set aside $20,000 for the program this fiscal year.
A maximum grant of $2,500 will be awarded, with a cumulative total of $5,000 a year per neighborhood. Any request exceeding $1,000 will require a dollar-for-dollar match either in private funding or in-kind donations.
The board approved a tax increment financing district redevelopment agreement with a Rantoul couple who operate a business.
William and Denise Schlueter will receive $10,000 for improvements they have made on property they bought on South Tanner Street.
The Schlueters invested more than $50,000 into the property, which was formerly used to grind and cut tree stumps.
Village Administrator Jeff Fiegenschuh said the Schlueters have made major improvements to the aesthetics of the property. He said the village had received numerous complaints about the site in the past.
The board approved a one-year listing agreement with Coldwell Banker Devonshire Realty for the market and/or sale of various airport and economic development conveyance projects.
A previous agreement with the company expired in February.
The board approved a contract amendment to extend the natural gas all-requirements sales agreement between the village and the Illinois Public Energy Agency (IPEA) through March 31, 2024.
The board approved the bulk purchase of $24,192 in chlorine for the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center.