Ludlow board denies Ludlow Co-Op rezoning request for expansion

A portion of the Ludlow Co-Op Elevator Co. facility is shown. The village board has denied a request by the cooperative to rezone property it owns to clear the way for expansion.

LUDLOW — Ludlow Co-Op Elevator Co. won’t be building a new grain bin facility in its namesake community.

The village board voted unanimously not to rezone the property on Chestnut Street, west of its other facilities, where the addition was considered. The village was one of several the cooperative was considering for the addition, but the board’s action apparently ends that consideration.

The board discussed the proposal at a couple of meetings, both of which drew capacity crowds.

Co-Op General Manager Paul Seaman told the village board in May that the bin would encompass 105 feet. He said silencers would be placed to dampen noise on the east side of the $2 million bin.

In the end, the board sided with residents who spoke out against measure.

“Even with putting in stipulations the elevator would have to meet, nobody wanted to go through the process,” Mayor Steve Thomas said of the board.

One stipulation would have been for the cooperative to buy all the property on Chestnut Street.

“The elevator understood that’s part of the cost of doing business if they got that far,” Thomas said.

Some residents said they didn’t want to walk out into their backyard and see a large grain bin staring them in the face. They also objected to the noise and dust.

Some board members wanted the addition to be built “more in line with the railroad tracks with the rest of their properties” — not near a residential area, Thomas said.

Three of the trustees live on the west side of town near the proposed site, while the other three live on the east side.

Thomas said the only benefit the board could see in the expansion was that it would bring additional tax dollars to the village, school and fire districts and township.

GENERAL MANAGER’S STATEMENT

Seaman expressed disappointment in the board’s action, saying trustees “didn’t look at all of the points of the business.  

“I don’t know if they’re anti-business growth or what. They’re pretty much dictating what we can or can’t do with our growth.”

He said the cooperative will “spend our tax dollars somewhere else.”

“These elevators have been here for a long time, and we have to work with them. These grain bins have been here longer than some of the people around them. I get it. It’s not for everybody.”

Seaman said the project “was more of a long-range objective here at Ludlow,” and there were some other projects the cooperative has planned before the grain bin addition. He said as a result of the village board’s vote, the bin will “more than likely” be built in Paxton.

WATER MAIN GRANT APPROVED

The board also learned the USDA had formally approved a $2.8 million grant for the village to replace most of its water mains, which were installed in the late 1940s, and equipment at the pump house.

USDA will pay 68 percent of the project cost. The village will receive a low-interest loan to pay its share.

Engineering fees of $191,000 will be paid to Fehr Graham through a loan with Farmers-Merchants National Bank, Paxton.

The board voted to increase water rates by $10 per month over three calendar years. The increase is related to payback of the loan.

Thomas said bids will probably go out in late summer or early fall.

Exterior work likely won’t start until next spring. Work in the water plant could begin in the winter.

OTHER BUSINESS

Board members discussed several houses that have been condemned that belong to the Dana Gerdes/Gerdes estate. Rodents are living in the property and coming into neighbors’ houses. The village might have to clean up and place liens on the properties. Thomas and trustees will further investigate the matter.

Trustee Randy Alesia discussed the Fourth of July celebration. State Rep. Dan Caulkins has donated $500 to the celebration.

A contractor with village employee Rick Chenoweth will look into why the Brucker property on Orange Street is using 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of water daily.

The board discussed a culvert at 125 W. Ludlow St. that a neighbor’s sump pump is draining into, which creates standing water in the yard.

The board learned a building permit was issued to Tom Curtis to build a 30- by 48-foot shed at 128 W. Pera Street.

Thomas thanked George Kissell for polishing the community center floors. Justin Penrod donated the wax.

He also thanked Rick Chenoweth, Jack Adkins, Steve Auterson and son for help with the cleanup of trees from a recent storm.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com