City dealing with rail crossings, downtown parking

Meeting for less than 30 minutes on Monday, city officials discussed things that can be done to address two traffic matters.

First, it set a meeting to discuss the use of parking spaces along Gallatin Street in the downtown business district.

Second, the mayor told how city residents can be a part of a campaign to help improve deteriorating railroad crossings in Vandalia.

Aldermen Bret Brosman, chairman of the city councils streets and sewers committee, set a meeting for 6 p.m. next Tuesday night for a discussion on the city ordinance governing parking on Gallatin Street downtown.

The meeting was set two weeks after Alderman Jerry Swarm said he believes that the city should eliminate the ordinance setting a two-hour limit on Gallatin Street if it is not going to enforce it.

Swarm offered the concern of some merchants violating that ordinance, which, in effect, means that they are using parking spaces that should be left open for customers of downtown businesses.

Later in the meeting, Mayor Rick Gottman reported that he continues to get complaints from residents about the condition of railroad crossings in Vandalia, particularly the one on Remann Street.

Gottman said that one resident who frequently uses the crossing has posted a sign asking people to call CSX Railroad about its condition. Gottman said the city has called that number to voice its complaints about this and other crossings, and he asked residents to do the same.

I encourage people to call that number (1-800-232-0144), Gottman said.

Also at Mondays meeting:

The council approved the transfer of Vandalia Lake lot No. 59 from Sybil Evans of Vandalia to Stephen Friedel of Vandalia.

The council approved the annual ordinance that stipulates that the city will pay prevailing wage rates on all city construction projects.

The council voted to send to the Vandalia Planning Commission an ordinance amendment governing signs and that project over the sidewalk in the downtown commercial district.

The council agreed to send to the Illinois Department of Transportation a request to close Gallatin Street from Third Street to Sixth Street from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, for the Vandalia Main Street Programs Corn Day festival.

Swarm, as chairman of the councils police, fire and ESDA committee, reported that the city gave out 47 applications for the police officer testing. Twenty-two of the applications were turned in.

Fourteen of the 22 applicants showed up for the testing held last Saturday, and of those four failed the physical agility testing. The 10 who passed that part of the testing took a written test, with the results of those tests expected later this week, Swarm said.

Gottman reported that the city is still waiting for results from the Environmental Protection Agency on borings taken in the downtown business district.

Once the city receives that information, it can procede with bidding out infrastructure improvements downtown.

Vandalia Main Street Program Manager Dana Whiteman reported that she had received from Illinois Historic Preservation Agency architects drawings for faade improvements to two downtown buildings First National Bank and the former home of Isbell Jewelry, which will soon be opened as a party supply store.

Whiteman also reported that the Main Street Executive Board has three new members Jo Lineberry, Steve Barker and Kim Shanks. They will officially join the board next Monday.

Whiteman said that Main Street will be moving its country market from the city lot in the 400 block of Gallatin Street to the 200 block of South Fourth Street, but that it will not ask that that block be closed to traffic for the Saturday markets.

Because the market is currently attracting just a few vendors, Main Street will place the vendors in parking spaces in that block, she said.

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