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Atwood Village Board Approves Sidewalk, Parking Area at Rajah Memorial Park

By Doris Elmore
Staff Writer

Trustees for the Village of Atwood approved a request for the construction of a sidewalk and parking area on Magnolia Street on the South Side of Rajah Memorial Park at their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 14. This will provide easy access to enter the area where the Tug Wilson Historical Marker now stands. The request was made by Vanessa Curry, a member of the Tug Wilson Historical Preservation Committee, in an e-mail sent to the board. Marsha Burgener, also a member of the committee, was in attendance to represent the committee.

The e-mail from Curry stated the committee is committed to pay all costs associated with the proposed sidewalk and parking area.

The board voted to hire Tim Shadwell and Wes Fleener as part-time police officers for Atwood to begin in the near future. Fleener is retiring from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office after several years on the department.

Brian Moody, Executive Director of the Tuscola Chamber & Economic Development and Douglas Co. Enterprise Zone Administrator, was present to discuss with the board to pass an ordinance authorizing the addition of Champaign County as a Designating Unit of Government and Related Boundary Modifications to the area known as the Douglas County Enterprise Zone.

Moody said that the Douglas County Enterprise Zone was approached by the developer, BayWa Renewable Energy, and requested being added to the zone. The benefit to the project (Prairie Solar, LLC) is their building materials for the project can be exempted from sales tax. The benefit to the Douglas County Zone is that they can charge a one-time administrative fee to the project (a maximum of $50,000). Those funds will be used to support the operation of the Enterprise Zone and their economic development efforts. Moody says that after the project is completed, the developer has agreed to pay the cost to remove the project area from the Douglas County Enterprise Zone. This will allow the Enterprise Zone to amend the boundary at a later date to include other projects in Douglas County.

The Atwood board voted to approve the amended Douglas County Enterprise Zone Intergovernmental Agreement.

A discussion was held regarding the five trees that were cut down at the Atwood Park near the diamonds. Trustees Chris Stoltz and Heather O’Connor stated they had received complaints from local residents that the trees had been removed. They were used for shade when the games were being held.

Haley Ely and Allen Kilber, members of the park committee, both apologized that they had approved the removal of the trees after the volunteers had finished the work on the ball diamonds. The trees were removed at no cost to the village. It was stated that one of the trees was rotten and needed cut down and the others were not suitable trees for the park. Haley said she would apologize to anyone that was upset.

In other business before the board:

The board approved the following dates for the Atwood Park ball diamond to be used by the ALAH high school softball team: 5-17-21, 5-27-21, 6-1-21, 6-14-21 and 6-17-21.

Approval was given to purchase a new F250 truck with snow plow not to exceed $60,000. Heather said it was in the budget.

The purchase of a salt spreader for the existing street & alley truck was approved by the board. The cost will be $6,525.76 installed on the old truck.

The board approved action to enter into a professional services agreement with Farnsworth Group, Inc. for the purpose of the sidewalk extension project-ITEP Grant Submittal at a cost of $6,500.

Discussion was held regarding a mailer to be sent to village residents for “clean-up” of their property. The mailer will explain what is expected from residents to keep their property clean and neat to help improve the village. The board voted in favor of the mailers not to exceed a cost of $300.

The board voted to hold Trick or Treat from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, October 31 (Halloween night). They would like to work with the Atwood Fire Department and the Atwood Chamber of Commerce on their plans for a community event. Stephanie Wierman, president of the Atwood Chamber, said they were waiting to see what the village was planning before they had a meeting. Trustee Scott Harris said the fire department was planning a drive-thru trick or treat similar to their Easter event.

Allen Kilber brought to the board a suggestion to possibly purchase park lighting for the large diamond in Atwood Park through Energy Saving Solutions, Inc. The park committee feels the lighting needs to be upgraded and this might be a good way to accomplish the project.

The information from Energy Saving Solutions, Inc. states the cost would be $16,445, but rebates might be available through Energy Savings and Ameren reducing the cost for the village to $2,002. Kilber said he would do more research on the project to see if the prices were exact. The project was tabled until a later date.

Expenditures totaling $74,242.57 were approved by the board.

The next meeting of the board will be held on Monday, October 12, at 7 p.m.

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