Fisher board approves restaurant's use of alley

By ROSS BROWN
For Rantoul Press


FISHER — Fisher Village Board members approved an ordinance granting a local restaurant use of an alley on the north side of its property.

Wild Hare Bar and Grill, located at 109 S. Third St. in downtown Fisher, would be allowed to use the 25-foot grassy area for outdoor seating and events.

Mayor Mike Bayler said the owners would be required to have insurance, install fencing and mow the lot regularly.

Hours of operation would be from 11 a.m.-midnight each day.

Bayler initially proposed an ending time of 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 8 p.m. on Sunday. After trustees raised questions about the required time, the board agreed to the same hours each day. Trustee Debbie Estes proposed a 10 p.m. end time, and Kevin Henderson and Roger Ponton said the times should be the same, which the board agreed to do.

Bayler said the $1 contract would run through October 2018, at which time the restaurant could purchase the land from the village.

“I know at one time, some of us had talked about it, but we’re not in the business of making money off of it; we’re in the business to sell. It’s just sitting there now,” he said.

Ponton suggested the owners take over a light pole on the property so the village doesn’t have to pay the electric bill.

“We pay $45 a month for one light,” he said. “I think we ought to do away with it. It’s silly to have it there unless they’re going to use the power off the pole.”
Bayler told the board he would talk to the owners about using the pole.

“If they want to use it, then we can transfer it over; otherwise we can cancel it ourselves,” he said.

Henderson asked if the village would be liable for any injuries that occur on the property. Village attorney Marc Miller said it would depend on the type of injury that occurs.

“If it’s because of a bar brawl, we have no liability,” he said. “If it’s because they show that there’s some type of dangerous condition on the property that caused the injury, then they can hold us to it. The problem is that we’re a municipality, so it’s a higher hurdle than it would be for the restaurant itself.

Public works Director Ron Ragle told the board several utility lines run underground through the property, and a time capsule is located somewhere on the lot. Bayler said the property could be marked, and board members said the capsule could be relocated.

Noting that another restaurant (Buzzards Fine Dining) is next door to the Wild Hare, Ponton asked Bayler how he would respond should other requests for outdoor seating come in. Bayler said Fisher’s outside sidewalks do not allow room for tables and still have room for people to walk.

“For one thing, our sidewalks aren’t as wide as Champaign’s are,” Bayler said. “I don’t think you could fit two tables out there.”

Other business
Also at Thursday night’s meeting:
• Chad Mines and Eric Stalter of the Fisher Area Business Association thanked the board and village for its support of the June 3 Lucky Foot Festival. Mines said he received positive feedback from residents and that he hopes to continue the event next year. Stalter thanked Police Chief Steve Bein for handling the downtown crowd and said the event should be a success money-wise, saying, “there’s no reason not to do it again.”

• The board approved the 2017 prevailing wage ordinance. Miller said the state hasn’t made any changes to the law due to the budget stalemate. The ordinance requires the village to set a prevailing wage for contractors to pay their employees for working on projects.

• Board members approved a $6,000 payment using Build America Bonds to the Fisher school district to repave its parking lot. Henderson questioned the decision, saying the village shouldn’t be paying for work on a private driveway.

• The board authorized a $26,000 bid from Illiana Construction for the 2017 MFT program.

• The board authorized a $3,900 purchase of a new blower for the wastewater treatment plant.

• Estes asked about the condition of a road on the northwest side of town. Ragle said an oil-and-chip spreader was not compatible with a truck the village was using, causing uneven amounts to be put down. He said a garbage truck might have caused damage to the road surface, but said that the village doesn’t have the right equipment to fix it.

• Ragle reported that the wastewater lagoon he has worked on has settled down, and he is now working on the other due to algae bloom.

• Bein reported patrol officer Mark Medlin has retired after 38 years on the force. He also addressed concerns about abandoned vehicles on residents’ properties. Bayler said he would look into the matter. Bein noted the current ordinance has faults, as some residents are purchasing new registration stickers but leaving the vehicles abandoned.

• Bayler said the village has received almost $500 in donations for the Fourth of July fireworks, and that a new water heater was installed in the concession stand.

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