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Bid awarded for streetscape work

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

A Raymond firm will do streetscape work on at least one side street in downtown Vandalia.
Kinney Contractors submitted the low bid of $931,894.96 for improvements in the downtown business district that are being funded solely with grant funds from the state.
Kinney was one of three bidders for the work, with Killian Corp. of Mascoutah bidding $963,826.90 and Sangamo Construction Co. of Springfield submitting a bid of $1,034,881.59.
The city has received $648,250 in grant monies from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the work, and has chosen to begin with improvements in the 100 and 200 blocks of South Fourth Street.
The streetscape work will include the replacement of cracked sidewalks and curbs, an asphalt overlay on the street and period lighting like that on Gallatin Street.
In addition to putting period light standards along Fourth Street, the city will install them on Kennedy Boulevard on the east side of the Vandalia Statehouse.
The improvements included in Kinney’s base bid of $473,086.14 also include the installation of handrails at ramped areas on sidewalks in front of businesses along Gallatin Street in the business district.
The handrails are being installed to help prevent more incidents of people being injured from stepping off of those ramped areas.
If the city has funds left over after the work on Fourth Street is completed, it will look at making some streetscape improvements in the 100 and 200 blocks of South Fifth Street.
Kinney’s alternate bid for road work and lighting in the 100 block of South Fifth Street was $255,687.31, and its bid for the 200 block was $202,521.51.
Added with the base bid, Kinney’s total bid was $931,294.96.
Mayor Rick Gottman has stated numerous times that the city will use only state grant funds for streetscape improvements.
The city can now proceed with the project as soon as the South Central Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission confirms that the bid conforms to requirements laid out in state grant documents.
Alderman Andy Lester asked if it were possible to get more out of the state grant by cutting out some “ornamental” items.
“There’s about $81,000 of pretty (in the bid),” Lester said.
Gottman said that some of the items cannot be pulled out of the project because of the “nature of the grant.”
Lester also asked whether the city could also make better use of the grant by having city employees handle some of the project work, such as pavement marking.
“That’s one of the things that we will discuss, what we can do versus what they (Kinney) can do,” Gottman said.
The current project schedule calls for work to begin on Sept. 24.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
• The council tabled action on an ordinance amendment governing structures on Vandalia Lake lease lots.
The amending ordinance was drawn up after the Vandalia Lake committee received a request from a lease lot holder wanting to put a portable building on his lot.
At Tuesday’s meeting, some aldermen said they felt that the proposed amendment does not accurately represent some building specifications they want included, such as a square-footage minimum or the inclusion of a kitchen area.
“It doesn’t have what we asked for,” Gottman said.
The council agreed to table to matter due to the fact that Alderman Mike Hobler, chairman of the lake committee, was not present for the meeting.
• The council voted 5-1 to approve a request for a beer garden in the 100 block of South Fourth Street on Saturday, Oct. 20.
A group of downtown merchants made the request for a beer garden during a car, truck and cycle show they are holding on Gallatin Street from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on that day.
The beer garden will be in front of Copper Penny, and the merchants stated at an earlier council meeting that it wouldn’t be open any later than 7 p.m.
The plan calls for live entertainment, and Gaffney specified that an outdoor band would not perform after 5 p.m. that day.
Aldermen Neil Clark, Angie Rhodes, Andy Lester, Terry Beesley and Neil Clark voted to OK the request. Jerry Swarm cast the lone dissenting vote, and Hobler and Russ Stunkel were not present for the meeting.
• At the recommendation of Beesley, chairman of the council’s water and sewer committee, the council agreed to revise its water services agreement with the Field of Dreams Committee.
Beesley recommended that the committee, which has made improvements to baseball and softball fields in the community, be charged half the normal billing rate, the same as the Vandalia Park District.
• The council approved the insurance and personnel committee’s recommendation to transfer city employee Brian Donnals from the street department to the water department.
Donnals will succeed Dan Brantley, who will be retiring at the beginning of October.
The council also agreed to begin the process of filling the vacancy in the street department created by the transfer.
Gottman noted that in light of earlier cuts made by the city, it needs to fill that vacancy in order to continue its level of services.
• The council approved the sale of 3.104 acres of property to Rick Cripe and 6.126 acres of HHC Properties (Midwest Tractor Sales).
Cripe and HHC were the low bidders on the tracts of property in the city’s western Interstate 70 interchange, south of Walmart and west of Vandalia Commons.
• The council approved the bid of $65,000 from Octochem for about 6.5 acres near the intersection of Eighth Street and Payne Drive.
Octochem was the lone bidder for the property, which the company will use to expand its Vandalia operations.
Gottman said that Octochem has committed to adding at least 12 jobs over the next four years as a result of its expansion.
• The council approved Gottman’s appointment of Kim Shanks to the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustments. Shanks succeeds Russell Hewitt, who has resigned from the board.
• The council approved the minutes from the Zoning Board of Adjustments Aug. 22 meeting.
At that meeting, the board approved a special use permit request submitted by Margaret Summann and Charles R. Sharp for a furniture and upholstery business at 622 S. Cypress St.
• The council approved a Tax Increment Financing grant of up to $7,500 to Tim Metzger and Ashley Miller for improvements to the building at 522 W. Gallatin St. that houses All About You Day Spa.