FISHER — A Fisher businessman wants to open what he calls a lucky laundromat. For that to happen, the Fisher Village Board would have to amend its liquor ordinance to allow for a pour-only license.

Brandon Chandler requested that change so he could install video-gaming machines in a walled-off portion of a building he owns on the main business district block that used to be part of Ingold’s grocery. On the other side, the laundromat, he would install two commercial washers and dryers and two regular washers and dryers. Hours would be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Chandler estimated the gaming machines could bring in $5,000 in annual revenue to the village but that he can’t make the plan work financially without them. There is no other laundromat in town.

Trustee Kevin Henderson encouraged his fellow board members to do lots of research before agreeing to such a plan. He noted the board has already turned down one similar request, and agreeing to this project could “open a can of worms,” while still acknowledging Chandler’s investment in Fisher. “Other towns have found it hard to put the genie back in the bottle,” Henderson said.

Tara Stone, central district business development manager for Accel Entertainment, told the board Watseka has such an establishment. Board member Angie Seidelman said the town could use a laundromat.

“We need to sister it up,” Chandler said.

Trustee Deb Estes said just because the board might grant one such license doesn’t mean it would have to accept any other requests. Police Chief Steve Bein said he thought the hours were reasonable.

But Trustee Roger Ponton said, “If this passes, the gaming people will be like wolves. We need to think about this.”

LAND PURCHASED FOR PARK EXPANSION

The board voted to purchase 2.5 acres of agricultural land immediately south of the existing ball diamond at Richmond Park for $13,000. This will expand the park area to add a field to accommodate the softball program.

Gale Sunderland, the property owner, is charging $5,000 an acre. The property is to be surveyed, and attorney Bill Scott of Allen & Korkowski, Rantoul, will handle the paperwork for the sale at no cost to the village

An ordinance will eventually need to be passed to formalize the land purchase.

Resident Corky Emberson has volunteered to manage the field-improvement aspects of the project and has secured promises of volunteer labor.

Mayor Mike Bayler noted the “tremendous amount of work” Emberson has already put into the project. Bayler said the village may be able to contribute some additional money from its capital improvement fund.

Bayler also told the trustees the village will share the cost of a mower with the softball league board that members will use to groom the field.

OTHER BUSINESS

The board will donate $2,000 to the Fisher Area Business Association’s annual Lucky Foot Festival June 8, the same as last year. The donation last year defrayed the costs of hiring professional security for the event.

The board approved spending $25,500 on a utility tractor for the public works department from Teuscher Sales, Fisher. The 3038 Series John Deere tractor with a bucket will be used for filling potholes, doing creek bank maintenance and other chores.

The board agreed to renew its Health Alliance HMO 2000a Gold group plan for health insurance. The renewal will increase the out-of-pocket maximum to $5,000 and change the drug card benefit from $10/$35/$70 to $10/$40/$80. It will result in a 4 percent reduction in health insurance premium costs from last fiscal year.

The board learned the Lammle Park volunteer equipment installation will be completed Saturday, May 18, beginning at 8 a.m., weather permitting.

news@rantoulpress.com