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Pana Council cancels lake campground

Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Writer

(PANA) — During its meeting on Monday night in the Council Chambers of Pana City Hall, the Pana City Council reversed its course of from two weeks ago and voted 7-0 to put a hold on a campgrounds near the Lake Pana dam.

The Council had voted at its last meeting to apply for an OSLAD (Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development) grant for a 45- site campgrounds for trailers and RV’s, featuring concrete pads, a shower house restrooms and a playground. The grant would have paid for $600,000 of the $1.5 million project. The grant application would have been due on Sept. 30 – this coming Friday.

Prior to the vote Monday night, members heard from Ben Spreen of Benton and Associates on a revised plan which cut the number of campsites in half and added several tent camping site after some opposition to the plan surfaced. However, the price tag was only reduced by some $300,000 to $1.2 million. The reduced plan was approved by the Lake Committee during a meeting on Friday, Sept. 23.

Despite the reduction, there still appeared to be opposition to the plan with several audience members on Monday night prepared to make remarks. City Engineer Greg Holthaus urged the Council to just postpone the grant application because there were still too many details needed to be worked out. He suggested waiting to apply for the grant until the 2023 grant cycle.

Alderman Ray “Butch” Hocq asked if there would be an OSLAD grant available next year. Spreen said he couldn’t guarantee it, but the state of Illinois had offered it in prior years. The amount of each individual grant could also fluctuate. Holthaus also brought up questions about the stability of the ground where the campground was going to be positioned and he suggested looking further into its makeup.

Pana Mayor Nathan Pastor said postponing the vote could be a good idea, saying, “We (the city) will be much better prepared a year from now” to submit a grant application.

In other business, the Council voted to approve a resolution to enter an agreement with the City of Taylorville for the replacement of the Lincoln Prairie Bike Trail Bridge just south of

Taylorville. Pana will submit an application for an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) grant with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The grant would cover the $1,2 million in estimated costs for the replacement. The grant would cover either 80 or 90 percent of the cost of the project with Pana and Taylorville being required to cover the remaining cost. The resolution caps the amount from each city at $120,000 apiece.

Holthaus said Pana’s share would come from a Build Illinois grant which the city has received. They state owes the city two more installments of $64,000 each. He also reminded the Council if the bids were higher than the projected costs, they could reject the bid.

The resolution passed unanimously, 7-0.

Members also passed a resolution to proceed with a second Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District on the east side of Pana, mainly taking in property around Lake Pana. Moran Economic Development will do the study and create the TIF District. Cost is not to exceed $20,000.

With one decanting vote, a liquor license was approved for the Roasted Bean, LLC, for their location at 110 N. Poplar St., the site of a former laundromat near the intersection of Washington and Poplar Sts.

Owner/developer of the project, Billy Brand told the Council his business sells “coffee by day and wine by night.” He described it as a “high end operation” and will have a drive-through window for coffee sale. He said no package liquor would be sold. Hours would be 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. daily.

Prior to Brand’s comments, Fourth Ward Alderman Kirk Woods noted the facility would have video gaming and he questioned “when will the city hit saturation with video gaming machines?”

Mayor Pastor responded at anytime the Council wanted to, they could set a limit to the number of gaming machines allowed in the city.

The vote to approve the license was 6-1 with Ward Three Alderman Stave Scott voting “No.”

Members voted to approve a resolution giving the state land of the city’s right-of-way on the bike trail to install a concrete box culvert as part of a bridge replacement. Holthaus said it the wooden tresses bridge on the trail ever failed, the trail could continue over the culvert.

Kitchell Park will be the scene of a disc golf outing promoted by the Pana Disc Golf Committee on Saturday, Oct. 29. It will be held from 2:00-9:00 p.m.

Dennis Bain spoke to the Council about a possible concert in the park on Oct. 22. He said four to five “family friendly” bands and individuals would perform. While no objections were raised, it will be place on the agenda at the next Council meeting for formal approval.

And that next Council meeting will be one day later than usual due to the Columbus Day holiday. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7:00 p.m.

There was a 17-minute executive session near the end of the meeting to review closed session minutes and employment. At 8:04 p.m., they emerged and in open session, passed a resolution to release closed session minutes. There was no action taken on employment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.

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