Where the Rails Cross the River
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After more than three months of searching and interviews, the City Council approved a recommendation of the Human Resource Committee to name Shawn Sutherland public works superintendent, effective February 2. Shawn brings public works experience including knowledge of water and sewer systems, machine operation, street maintenance and related public works functions. He possesses license and other requirements needed by the City, including a CDL and a water operators license. He also brings important leadership and supervisory experience. Shawn will lead a department of six full time and five part-time employees in care and maintenance of the City's water and sewer systems; streets and alleys; the City cemetery, parks and other city-owned property, and the landscape waste drop-off site. He works with the city engineer to identify and address maintenance issues on infrastructure projects and is the liaison between the City Council and the Public Works Department. We're glad to have Shawn part of the leadership team with the City.
The City Council is expected to move forward soon on a significant redevelopment project on Cedar Street - the property known as the Gray buildings. The City acquired the vacant buildings in 2014 and has been looking for a project that would fit in that location. After months of meetings and discussing ideas, a local developer and a restaurant owner from Peoria worked together and have proposed a restaurant in the old two-story brick building in the middle of the larger building. It will require demolition of the one-story portion of the building and renovation of the old brick structure. As proposed, the facility would be a unique destination-style restaurant that is expected to attract the majority of its diners from outside the immediate area. The lot at the corner of Second and Cedar Streets - formerly the site of an old hotel - would be a parking lot. The project is a good fit with the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) economic development strategy - it removes a blighted building, sets up a new business and generates new real estate and sales taxes for the City. It also should generate additional traffic for other local businesses.
A bid for the storm drain improvement on Truitt Avenue was approved and that work should start in the next few weeks During construction there'll be some disruption as a 350 foot long perforated pipe is put into a bed of pea gravel running west on the north side of Truitt Avenue. Hopefully this will go a long way toward solving the problem with water not draining properly on Truitt Avenue between Hushaw and Bradley. Watch for activity in that area..