Administrator agrees: Pool landscaping needs work

The village has a plan to upgrade the landscaping around village-owned buildings. This year’s upgrade focused on the muncipal building the police station and other sites. Next year, the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center landscaping is the likely target.

RANTOUL — A resident’s concerns about the condition of the landscaping around Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center are valid, Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said, and are likely to be addressed as improvements are made next year.

At the August village board study session, Debra Rawlings had cited the deterioration of the plantings around the aquatic center and asked the trustees, Mayor Chuck Smith and Eisenhauer to view the condition of the landscaping for themselves.

All of those mentioned did view the site except for Smith and Trustee Terry Workman, both of whom were out of town.

Eisenhauer provided an email to the Press that he sent to the trustees following Rawlings’ study session appearance, saying she “is not incorrect in her assessment of the landscaping” at the aquatic center.

Rawlings said at one time the landscaping was in good shape, but it appeared it had been the victim of budget cuts.

“I would suggest, as I understand the history, those landscaping cost-reductions were taken across the village as a whole, not just at the aquatic center,” Eisenhower told the trustees.

During presentation of this year’s budget, Eisenhauer said “landscaping and appearance are important factors.”

The village this year began landscaping “makeovers” of village hall and the police station, he said, as well as some planters downtown and the four entrances to town.

He said a quote to landscape the aquatic center came to $23,000, and the village opted to possibly include it in next year’s beautification efforts.

Eisenhauer said he intends to continue to set aside money each year for beautification efforts and said village officials will be meeting with Deem Landscaping to discuss plans for next year.

“I look forward to seeing plans for the restoration,” Rawlings told the board at least week’s monthly meeting.

Also at last week’s meeting, the village board approved an agreement between the village and Rantoul City Schools to build and maintain an extension of the foot/bike path to Northview Elementary School.

The work will be paid with a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation and a $100,000 allocation from Rantoul City Schools to be used if the project cost exceeds the $200,000 amount.

The addition will provide Americans with Disabilities Act compliance across Sheldon Street and onto the school site as well as make improvements to traffic flow and separation of walkers, bikers, buses and other vehicle traffic within the project limits.

Initial funding will come from the village’s local motor fuel tax and will be reimbursed from IDOT, and RCS if necessary.

The board also approved contracting with ESI Consultants Ltd. to do engineering work on the project at a cost of $44,090.

Other business

Also at last week’s meeting:

• Mayor Chuck Smith presented a scholarship check for $500 to Samantha Hoy. A senior, Hoy said she is enrolled in the dental hygiene program at Parkland College and will receive her license in May. Another scholarship recipient — Jennifer Benavides — will also receive $500. Benavides was not present.

• Smith introduced new employee Chris Milliken, who has been hired as the village’s urban planning manager. Smith said Milliken has about 15 years experience in the area of urban planning, having worked in Danville.

• The board approved a $18,600 contract with CBIZ for appraisal of village-owned buildings. Comptroller Pat Chamberlin said  the buildings had not been appraised for many years and said the action was needed for insurance purposes.

• The board approved a resolution seeking a $400,000 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant and a $200,000 Boat Access Area Grant, both for needed work at Heritage Lake Park.

• The board approved purchase of a 2019 F150 truck from Shields Auto Group, Rantoul, for $24,785. Eisenhauer said the truck will replace a 2001 truck that will be scrapped. The new truck will be used by Code Enforcement to tow a trailer that hauls lawn mowing equipment and to pick up items dumped in town.

• The board approved the purchase of a dump truck bed from Rahn Equipment Co. for $51,525 and a truck chassis from CIT Trucks for $92,014 plus a $7,500 contingency. It will replace a 1993 Ford that had been used to haul salt. The older truck will be retained, modified and used as a chipping truck.

• The board approved the sale of the 40,000-square-foot former street division garage at 617 E. Grove Ave. to Waters Electric, Rantoul, for $10,000.

• The board approved a license agreement with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission to allow for the placement of a directional sign on village property for the Head Start building at the corner of Century Boulevard and Frost Avenue.

• The board approved an agreement with Fortress Data Center to allow the company to install a private electric line to support its 101 W. International Drive facility and its new data center at Rantoul Business Center with a common set of redundant generators. An initial license fee of $1,000 per year will be charged.

• The board adjourned to executive session to consider setting the price for sale or lease of village-owned property and to consider collective bargaining matters with village employees.