Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Writer
(PANA) — During their meeting on Monday night, members of the Pana City Council got some good news on a price reduction for construction of an auxiliary building at the Pana Water Treatment Plant. In addition, there was a presentation for the Pana Lake Nature Park Project at the lake and discussions on sidewalk replacements and a complaint about the city’s chicken ordinance.
Ben Spreen of Benton and Associates, Jacksonville, the engineering firm overseeing the construction of a Powder Activated Carbon Feed building at the water plant, presented the Council with a change order which will save the city over $162,000 in construction costs. He explained by replacing the machine which adds carbon to the water filtration system, the city will recoup the savings.
In the original bid document submitted by Grunloch Construction of Effingham, a higher priced piece of equipment was approved. However, the contractor found an alternative devise which does the same job. The Council approved the change order.
Cost of construction is now pegged at almost $647,000.
A nature park proposed for 30 acres of city-owned property located south of the spillway at Lake Pana was detailed by Pana Lake Nature Park Committee member John Hicks. He was assisted by Pana native and disc golf champion Richard Klein III.
The proposed complex will consist of a 72-hole professional championship disc golf course, a mile-long nature hiking trail with a nature observation area, four family picnic pavilions, playground, a restroom and rock-covered parking lot.
Hicks said the Pana Disc Golf Club has the funds to build the course. He said each hole would have two baskets and two tee areas so the 18-hole layout becomes a 72-hole design.
“You’ll be able to play the long tee to the long basket; long tee to the short basket; short tee to the short basket; or short tee to the long basket,” Hicks explained.
He said the Pana facility would be one of just a handful of such courses across the United States. In addition, the course would not be invasive to the environment as disc golf courses utilize the natural surrounding terrain.
Members of the committee have been to the site to and have laid out a tentative plan for the hiking trail. Hicks noted the area is hometown at least one bald eagle nest. A platform a nature observation area is also planned for the park.
Hicks said there are individuals and companies which have donated the funds needed to get the disc golf course, the nature trail and observation areas and the parking lot. If approved by the Council, Hicks said the initial construction could be completed by super of next year.
Mayor Nathan Pastor lauded the plan and felt, “This is a marvelous project and it will put Pana on the map.”
Both Hicks and Klein spoke favorably about the direction the city has bee taken recently during their presentation. But the next speaker, Miles Stano, a resident of Lake Pana, had a different opinion.
Stan was there to complain about a notice he received regarding the chickens which he has on his lake lot. He said he was told he needed to remove the chickens from his property and the next day, a registered letter from the city indicated he had 14 days to remove the chicken or face daily fines and possible revocation of his lake lot lease.
“This is senseless,” Stano told the Council. “I don’t think this is at all fair.”
He stated city ordinances allow for residents to have “lions, tigers and bears” in captivity in the city, if they are for show or competition.
“How stupid is this?,” he questioned. “The ordinance even refers to chickens as nuisance animals. They are not.”
He suggested part of the problem could be members of the Council itself and called for citizens to elect new members and not re- elect “members who have been on the Council off and on for some 40 years.”
Following a discussion on sidewalk replacement in the city, Council members unanimously not to change the current sidewalk ordinance. If a home owner or business owner wants a sidewalk or have one replace, the resident/owner pays for the labor and the city foots the bill for the concrete.
A provision of a budget for use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the city calls for replacement of curbs and gutters and sidewalks throughout residential areas of town. But Alderman Kirk Woods felt it wasn’t fair for those who had already entered into a sidewalk agreement with the city and paid their share to now just replace the sidewalks at 100 percent city costs.
“What about the people who paid for their sidewalks 20 years ago?,” he said. “Are we going to reimburse those who have paid?”
Pastor didn’t think that would happen, but Woods said, “Believe me, people will complain and it will happen.”
It was decided the ARPA funds would be used for curbs and gutters only.
In other business, the Council voted to approve a $5,000 TIF grant to Echo Response Ambulance Service and to award them a portion of land adjacent to a new location for the services new construction.
Echo is paying $27,500 to have the north wall of the William Duff building tuck- pointed and repaired and then cover the side with a metal sheets and a cap. The grant will cover part of those costs.
In addition, the city will grant property to the service from a city parking lot on South Locust St. to accommodate the construction of their new building. The city attorney will draw up the agreement.
An amendment to the TIF agreement with Pana Family Dental (Dr. Clark K. J. PC) will allow the development of property south of the current building to be used as a parking lot instead of an addition to the office as previously planned. The city and the dentist office each paid almost $40,000 each to have the adjacent building to the south demolished.
The entrance and exit to the lot will be from Commercial Alley. A wrought iron fence and gate and low maintenance landscaping will face Locust St.
An ordinance to amend fire service charges was tabled, pending more information.
The Council approved bids for asbestos abatement from two structures. Triple A Asbestos of Pana was awarded the contract for removal at 105 W. Orange for $1,250 and AC Environmental of Wilsonville got the contract for 11 E. Washington for just more than $8,600.
The Council had a 17-minute executive session to discuss employment and compensation of specific employees and no action was take in the close session or in open session.
The meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m. Next meeting of the Pana City Council is Monday, Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Pana City Hall, 120 E. Third St.