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City OKs Lincoln storyboards

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The citys plans for streetscape improvements are on hold for the time being, but its efforts to educate local residents and tourists on Vandalias history are not.

Action taken by the Vandalia City Council Monday paves the way for the creation and installation of Abraham Lincoln storyboards by this summer.

The council approved an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation that allows the city to use federal TEA-21 grant funds, which are funneled through IDOT, for eight of the citys 10 storyboards.

The total cost for the storyboards is $62,768, and $39,114 in TEA-21 funds can be used for the project. Those federal monies may only be applied toward the eight storyboards that will be in the downtown business district.

With the cost for the eight downtown storyboards estimated at $48,892, the citys share for those markers is $9,778.

Five of the storyboards will be installed on the Vandalia Statehouse grounds, two will be placed on buildings in the 100 block of South Fourth Street and one will be erected at Lincoln Park. A ninth storyboard will be installed at the Old State Burial Ground, and one will be put in Rogier Park.

On the storyboards, the citys Looking for Lincoln Committee will tell stories about Lincolns time in Vandalia. The storyboards will tell, for example, how Lincoln began his career in politics in this community, and that it was in the Vandalia Statehouse that he first spoke out publicly against slavery.

In addition to approving the IDOT agreement, the council also accepted on Monday a bid for the production of the storyboards and a bid for their installation.

A $62,768 bid from Engraphix Architectural Signage of St. Louis was the only one received by the city for the storyboard production. City Administrator Jimmy Morani explained that the St. Louis firm has thus far been the only company to bid on Looking for Lincoln storyboards throughout the state.

The bid includes a graphic panel design fee of $5,000 ($500 per sign) and $580 for shipping the signs to Vandalia.

In its bid, Engraphix estimates that the signs should be completed within eight weeks of bid acceptance.

The council also approved a bid of $15,150 from Miller Brothers Construction of rural Ramsey for the installation of the storyboards. The city also received a $24,400 bid from Andy Lester Construction of Vandalia.

Also at the meeting:

The council approved Mayor Rick Gottmans appointment of former Fayette County Board Chairman Dean Black to the citys Police Pension Board.

Black, who recently moved to Vandalia from St. Elmo, succeeds Harold Bud Ballinger, who resigned from the commission.

The council approved the transfer of Vandalia Lake lot No. 152 from Pat Click of rural Ramsey to Robert Williams of rural Shobonier.

The council approved the preliminary plat for Veterans Court Subdivision, which is located on Veterans Avenue west of Security Finance.

The council accepted the $112,838 bid of TRI-S Excavating of Odin for a phase of water main replacement on Eighth Street. The bid of TRI-S, which was one of five received by the city, is $57,243.50 below the estimate created by HMG Engineers of Carlyle, the citys consulting engineers.

The council unanimously rejected a rezoning request submitted by James Logue.

Logue was asking to have the zoning for a vacant lot at 1430 N. Seventh St. changed from single-family residential to general commercial, to allow for the installation of storage units.

The Vandalia Planning Commission, after hearing two nearby residents objecting to the change, did not recommend approval of Logues request.

The council approved the street maintenance plan for 2008 as submitted by Director of Public Works John Moyer.