The construction of a new restaurant in Vandalia will both provide a new eatery and fulfill the terms of a seven-year old agreement with the city.
Mayor Rick Gottman announced at Monday’s city council meeting that a Huddle House restaurant will be built near the Holiday Inn Express in the southwest quadrant of the city’s western Interstate 70 interchange.
That means that developer Chuck Keller is finally able to fulfill the terms of a pact he signed with the city in 2005.
Through that agreement, the city agreed to provide free water and sewer line extensions to the property in the southwest I-70 quadrant, estimated to cost just under $60,000.
Keller agreed to build a hotel and restaurant on that site.
The city council granted Keller an 18-month extension in 2009, and a second, 18-month extension in 2011.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council took action that allowed Octochem to pay off land purchased from the city way ahead of schedule.
The council approved a substitution to the agreement it OK’d with Octochem last October for the company’s purchase of 6.5 acres for an addition.
The original agreement called for the company to pay the $65,000 purchase price in three annual installments, but City Attorney Jack Johnston said that Octochem – a company that fabricates and distributes samples, and offers specialty distribution services – needed to have ownership of the property for financing purposes.
The agreement states that the company will receive refunds on the purchase price in each of the next three years as long as it employs four new employees each year, or a total of 12.
Johnston said he doesn’t see a problem with Octochem meeting that requirement. In fact, he said, it already has.
Gottman reported at the meeting that the foundation for the new addition has been poured.
Octochem has been in business since 1995 and has had a facility in Vandalia since 2003. The company president, Mark Langston, is a Vandalia native.
At the time the agreement was signed, Octochem had 44 employees at its Vandalia facilty, according to land sale documents.
In other action on Monday:
• The council approved a one-year agreement with Site Partnership through which the Texas-based firm will assist the city in its economic development efforts.
The city will pay $2,795 to the firm, whose services will include representing the city at major trade shows throughout the country and providing the city with economic development leads.
Gottman said that an economic development committee made up primarily of local business people recommended going with the company for one more year.
In recent years, Executive Secretary LaTisha Paslay said, the firm has been providing 15-20 leads from each trade show.
Gottman also told the council that he has asked the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Kaskaskia College to assist the city with economic development.
• At the request of developer Randy Edwards, the council approved the naming of a roadway in the western I-70 quadrant Opel Street.
The road south of Auto Zone will intersect with Mattes Avenue.
• With complaints about motorists running stop signs on Gallatin Street at Fifth Street possibly being related to the low level of light from street lights, Alderman B. John Clark said he had asked Public Works Director John Moyer to get prices on lighted stop signs.
Clark, chairman of the streets committee, said that each of those signs cost a little more than $1,000, and that the committee has decided not to pursue the purchase of those signs.
Moyer said he doesn’t believe that the signs would help anyway, because he feels that most of those who roll through the stop signs are local residents who know that the stop signs are there.
After considerable discussion on that point, Gottman asked that the police department watch that intersection for violators.
• Gottman reported that the city had received $52,074.23 as part of a $105-million settlement in a lawsuit against the maker of atrazine.
Vandalia is among the communities receiving reimbursement for the money it has spent to treat water tainted by atrazine, a chemical sprayed on corn and other crops.
Gottman praised the work of Water Plant Superintendent Marty Huskey and other city employees who were involved in receiving this reimbursement check.
• Alderman Andy Lester, chairman of the building and grounds committee, said the committee is recommending that the city accept the low bid of $6,250 from ProWire of Vandalia for new telephones and a new voice mail system.
The council is expected to act on that purchase next month.
• The council approved the transfer of Vandalia Lake lot 8B from the city to Dolores Wheatley of Granite City.
• The council observed a moment of silence for former businessmen Glenn Bowen and Randy Elder.