Group purchases Graham building

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

City officials’ fear that the former home of Graham Packaging would be torn down apparently have been allayed.
Mayor Rick Gottman announced at Tuesday’s city council meeting that an investment group from another state has purchased the building that housed the manufacture of plastic containers for more than 40 years.
Gottman doesn’t know what that group plans to do with the facilities, but he intends to find out. He said that he has been making calls in attempts to set up a meeting with the investment group.
There are indications, however, that the group plans to use the facilities, as it has had a local contractor, Stombaugh Heating and Air Conditioning installing heating units.
In the past, heating units were not needed, as the machines that produced the plastic containers provided heat, Gottman said.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved two zoning matters.
The council approved changing the zoning of a house at the northeast corner of Eighth and Fillmore streets from single-family residential to general commercial.
The zoning change was requested by KJ Washburn Enterprises, the owner of Fayette County Real Estate.
Kelly and Jared Washburn plan to move the real estate business to that address from its current location on the curve at Eighth and Orchard streets.
The Washburn property, Gottman noted, is contiguous with commercial property on the north.
The council, acting on a recommendation from the city’s planning commission, approved an ordinance change that allows special use permits for general warehousing and storage to be considered in areas carrying two-family residential zoning.
The request was made by developer Doug Fulk, who has begun the work necessary to convert the former home of Rainbow Wash, at Eighth Street and St. Louis Avenue, into self-storage units.
In other action:
• The council approved an agreement with John H. Crawford and Associates, which has an office in Vandalia, for preliminary engineering and design of a “new potential” water treatment plant for the city.
• The council approved an advertising agreement with The Leader-Union for 2014.
• The council approved its final payment to Josh Henry for maintaining the city’s website.
After Alderman Andy Lester asked what the city’s plans for the website were, Alderman Dorothy Crawford volunteered to maintain www.vandaliaillinois.com, saying that having her do the work would save the city some money.
But Gottman, City Clerk Peggy Bowen and Executive Secretary LaTisha Paslay cautioned against making that decision at that time, because of the work involved.
That includes posting all of the agendas for and minutes from city meetings, as well as other documents.
“It’s not an easy job,” Gottman said.
Paslay suggested that a council committee discussed the issue, and Gottman said that he would be appointing a committee to study the matter.