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(PANA) — The Pana City Council approved a measure to ask the Illinois Department of Transportation for an extension for a grant to rebuild the bridge over the South Fork River for the Lincoln Prairie Bike/Hike Trail. The action took place during the Council’s regular meeting on Monday night in the Council Chambers of Pana City Hall.
The grant is for just over $424,000 in a grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) to replace the former B & O Railroad bridge near Taylorville. Local share of the grant is $212,000 – half to be paid by Pana and the city of Taylorville. However, last fall, bids received for the project to remove the old bridge and replacement was well over the amount of the grant and local share.
Pana will request another two years to spend the grant funds. They will also have Mike Trello of Kuhn and Trello Engineers – the prime engineering firm which designed the new bridge – prepare documents for the city to request another ITEP grant for the bridge. City Engineer Greg Holthaus said it is possible for the city to receive two grants for the same project.
The engineering firm will also revamp their bridge plans for the project. Pending approval by the Taylorville City Council, Pana and Taylorville will split the extra $10,000 fee for this service in half.
According to the ITEP website, grant awards will be made in the fall of this year. Over $109 million in grants are available.
In an effort to save a downtown building, the Council approved the purchase of the former George’s Candy Shop building at 101 E. Second St. from A. J. and Sandra Wiss for $57,000. Part of the sales agreement is that the owners will repair the roof of the building before the sale is finalized.
Fourth Ward Alderman Kent Sims, who chairs the Economic Development Committee, said the iconic downtown Pana building “needed to be saved” and the city will try to entice a business to locate inside the structure. The funds will come from the Business District Tax fund.
Sims also announced demolition of 29, 31 and 33 S. Locust St. will begin this week. The properties are the former JC Penny building and the Azteca Mexican Restaurant. Sims also received permission to have a resolution be drawn up to demolish 610 E. First St. A resolution to acquire property at 300 N. Locust St. was tabled for further study.
A five-point development plan for portions of Lake Pana was approved by the Council. Among the items the committee would like to see developed are a routing plan for properties for the new water line extension which will go around the lake; develop a pilot campground near the city-owned boat ramp; development of nature trails and park south of the lake dam; and find a way to connect the roadway from the east side of the lake to the west side below the dam.
Approval was given to award a contract to Henson-Robinson Co. of Springfield for replacement of the city hall roof. The bid was for slightly more than $80,000, but Ben Spreen with Benton and Associates, the engineering firm which wrote the roof specs, said the cost is probably closer to the $110,000 – $120,000 range as some material costs may vary during construction. He said the grant which the city received from USDA will cover most all of those costs. Engineer Holthaus asked Spreen to see if the contractor would be able to move some antenna on the roof, which has an estimate of $4,000.
Pana Police Chief Daniel Bland informed the Council for the new future, police dispatching duties between midnight and 8:00 a.m. will be handled by the Christian County Sheriff’s Department. Bland said it was a temporary move because one of the current dispatchers is on medical leave for a period of six to 12 weeks. He said this will allow the current roster of dispatchers some relief by not having to cover the shift and paying the overtime as well as not causing too much stress on the rest of the dispatch staff. Bland emphasized this was only temporary and the city, the county and the union have all agreed with the plan.
The purchase of a 4.5-yard street salt spreader along with lights was approved for slightly more than $9,000. Also approved were installation of squad car equipment from Central Service Center of Blue Mound for $9,300 and a contract with Hach Service for a year-long maintenance contract for the water treatment plant at a cost of $10,700.
Bud Altman and Mark Shanks representing the Lincoln Prairie Bike/Hike Trail made a presentation on the trail and Shanks, who is a member of the Shelbyville City Council and an avid biker, reported on nationwide plan to connect bike trails from coast-to-coast in the United States. He noted there is a trail which crosses the entire state of Missouri and Indiana is building a cross-state trail which terminates at Marshall, Ill. He said the is a possibility of connecting the Pana trail to Shelbyville and from Taylorville, heading north to Springfield where there is a trail connecting all the way to St. Louis.
The meeting adjourned at 7:58 p.m. Next meting of the Pana City Council is Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Pana City Hall, 120 E. Third.