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City says owner required to maintain Randolph crossing

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Craig said he plans to use concrete to take care of the situation

By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Vandalia officials have been fielding a number of complaints about the condition of a rail crossing on one of the town’s busiest streets, the chairman of the city council’s street committee said on Monday.
And the city has determined, Alderman Bret Brosman said at Monday’s city council meeting, that the city is not responsible for repairs to that crossing.
Brosman said the complaints have been about the condition of the crossing on Randolph Street near Culbertson’s Heating & Cooling and Vandalia Warehouse.
The complaint began after city workers dug in that area last week to repair a water leak.
“It is the owner of the railroad spur’s obligation to maintain it,” Brosman said.
Brosman was referring to Andy Craig, owner of the nearby warehouse buildings.
Craig initially responded to Brosman’s comments by saying, “We’ll take a look at it.”
As John Moyer, the city’s director of public works, talked about the problem, Craig said, “This is the first I’ve learned about it. I just heard 30 minutes ago that this was going to come up (tonight).
“It would have been nice to get a phone call,” said Craig, a regular attendee at city council meetings.
He wondered why it is now his responsibility to take care of the crossing. “You guys have been patching it for 20 years now.”
Moyer countered by saying that he had talked to Craig about the crossing a number of times.
Craig said he would look into the issue, but added, “The rail is not coming out. I know that’s what some people are wanting.”
Mayor Rick Gottman said the city will give Craig time to address the issue.
Craig said later that he will use concrete at the crossing. He said that he has suggested the use of concrete in the past, but the city was not in favor of that.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• The council agreed to consider, at the request of a commercial business with an office in Vandalia, a revision to a city ordinance governing door-to-door canvassing.
The ordinance currently requires that those canvassing door-to-door are required to pay a daily fee of $45.
New Wave Communications, which is planning to canvass the city, asked that the city, like other towns, allow for an annual permit that carries a fee of $100. The canvass is planned to both check in with current customers and solicit new customers.
Brosman said he agreed with New Wave officials on the point that the city ordinance is geared toward transients, and he made the motion for the ordinance amendment. The council plans to vote on that issue at its Aug. 19 meeting.
• The board approved an ordinance amendment that allows the sale and consumption of alcohol at Vandalia Country & Golf Club.
The amendment was drawn up after several individuals attending a city meeting complained that the country club does not comply with city ordinance. The ordinance previously stated that alcohol sales and consumption were allowed at “enclosed, roof structures.”
The ordinance amendment was approved, with Brosman, Larry Bennett, Lisa McNutt, Larry Cable, Dean Black and Andy Lester voting for it, and Aldermen Mike Hobler and Jerry Swarm voting against it.
The ordinance amendment specifies that that stipulation “shall not apply to real estate owned by a public or private golf club or golf course…holding a club license.”
• Gottman reported that benches that will be installed along Gallatin Street as part of the downtown enhancement project have been ordered.
He said the benches are to arrive in four to six weeks, and that Walt Barenfanger has agreed to store them until city workers can install them.
• The council approved the issuance of a liquor license to Randy Myer, who is in the process of buying Lo Mac’s, a liquor store located at 1412 Rock Island Ave. Myer currently owns the BP and Marathon convenience stores in Vandalia.
• The board approved a bid of $4,535.03 from Precise Construction of rural Vandalia for concrete patching on the dam at Vandalia Lake.
• The council approved an agreement with Hurst-Roche Engineers of Hillsboro for the annual inspection of the lake dam. The city will pay the engineering firm $2,650 for the inspection.
• The council agreed to apply for an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant for sidewalk work. Hurst-Roche Engineers has agreed to prepare the grant application at no cost.
• The council observed a moment of silence for Doris Elam, the mother of city employee Kevin Elam.
• Gottman reported that the Old Capitol Foundation Board recently met and approved the disbursement of funds from the Hazel Simma-Kelly Trust.
He said the city’s cemetery department will receive $20,000 for the maintenance for the Catholic section of Fairlawn Cemetery, and that the Vandalia Fire Department will receive $33,808. The Catholic cemetery and fire department are among the entities specifically mentioned to receive funds through the trust.
Gottman also reported that the foundation approved the allotment of $4,549 to the city for school crossing guards.