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City Council approves TIF recommendation for new downtown eatery

The Vandalia City Council agreed Monday night to accept the TIF recommendation and approved an ordinance for a new downtown restaurant’s redevelopment.

Shelley Ledbetter had submitted a TIF application requesting funds to help purchase and renovate the Allie Mae’s Sweetery building at 615 W. Gallatin St. Ledbetter had requested $52,700 in TIF monies: $35,000 for the building acquisition, $9,700 for building rehabilitation and $8,000 for equipment, fixtures and furnishings. The request comes to about 50 percent of the total upfront cost.

Ledbetter, who was the former manager at Willy’s, told the council that her new business would be run similarly to what she has done in the past. Shelley’s Burger Station would add 8 to 10 new jobs and offer a dine-in experience with a breakfast and lunch menu.

The TIF committee approved a recommendation to funds to be used for 25 percent of the acquisition and 25 percent of the interior renovation, plus another $5,000 toward the repair of the furnace. The total amount approved came to $23,625.

Alderman Ken Hubler explained that he would cast his favor for the

“I believe the committee is  there for a purpose,” Hubler said. “If you don’t vote with them, then why have them?”

Alderman Bret Brosman said while he supports Ledbetter and her pursuit of a business, he would prefer if the city could get out of the practice of allowing TIF funds to be used to acquire buildings.

“I’d like to see us get away from acquisition,” Brosman said.

Mayor Ricky Gottman said Ledbetter is a prime example of the type of local business that the city should encourage as much as it can.

“She has been very successful at what she does,” Gottman said. “I think she will drive business to the downtown area. That’s what we are all about. Creating jobs and revenues for this community. When we have homegrown people wanting to do projects we need to work with them and make sure we are doing what we can for those businesses in our community.”

Also at the meeting, the council approved the purchase of a new brush fire truck for the Vandalia Fire Department. The truck will be purchased from the low bidder Hecht Chevrolet in Vandalia for $45, 900.

The council also accepted the low bid from Drew Miller construction for the building of the new cemetery building. The cost is $60,405.

Both items are to be purchased through the Hazel Simma Kelly fund, which has set aside monies for these purposes.

The council approved a four-month extension submitted by Amy Gaffney for Jane Holdings Inc. in regards to TIF funds received in November 2019.