MOUNT CARMEL — The continued discussion pertaining to a new water plant facility for the city of Mount Carmel highlighted several pertinent topics at the week’s city council meeting.
Commissioners and Mayor Joe Judge have mulled the construction of a new plant over the past year, but recently decided the best course of action would be to construct a new plant facility.
The current one which the city uses was first build in 1937, and although it has been renovated since, the need for modernization is dire. At the May 4 meeting Judge and commissioners discussed that plants are typically built for around 30 years of use. The city’s however has been operating for 83 years.
Judge and Commissioner Justin Dulgar have repeatedly stated that any vote wouldn’t come without giving the public the opportunity to attend the council meeting.
Well, with Phase two of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order set to conclude on May 29, they’ll have that opportunity at the next council meeting on June 1.
The meeting, which will be headlined by the impending vote on a new plant and is open to the public, will be at 5 p.m. on June 1, and may be held outdoors if necessitated. Otherwise, it’ll be at City Hall.
“At the next meeting — we’re going to try to have it inside, if not I think the plan will be to take it outside — but we’re going to be discussing the new Water Plant.” Dulgar said.
New time for future
Although the time for the June 1 meeting will revert back to 5 p.m., the council decided to trial a 4 p.m. meeting time for the foreseeable future.
The council has been operating under a 4 p.m. start time since the COVID-19 pandemic began and the doors were forcibly closed to the public.
for opening of city pool
Not much has changed pertaining to the future of the city pool for the summer of 2020.
The state has yet to offer the green light for cities to begin preparations for opening community pools, and it’s uncertain if that will ever come given the requirements of Pritzker’s phases.
Some silver lining, however, Judge said the city did receive their operational permit, so they’re simply waiting for clearance now.
Many pools nationwide have opted not to open their doors for the season, citing a likely forfeit of significant revenue, as well as social distancing requirements which make such an operation impractical. Princeton, just across the Wabash River, did announce their pool will be opening for the summer however, so perhaps Mount Carmel will follow suit.
“We’re still anxiously awaiting for them to give the clear, and that point we’ll make the determination whether we’ll open or not.” Judge said.
Message to the
Class of 2020
Judge began the meeting by offering his congratulations to the Class of 2020 graduates in Wabash County, many of whom received their diplomas last week while returning to school to clear out their belongings.
Wabash District 348 is still holding out hope for an August graduation at Wabash Valley College, but the feasibility of the ceremony is simply up in the air. Regardless, they’ve earned such a moment.
“I’d like to recognize all of the 2020 graduates of Mount Carmel and Wabash County, congratulations on your accomplishments,” Judge said. “The Class of 2020: You’ve been through a lot, and adversity has certainly made you stronger. Now the residents of Mount Carmel and the entire state of Illinois stand with you. You’re much more than the leaders of tomorrow, you’re the leaders of today.”
downpours cause flooding across Wabash County
Much of the area has been plagued by the recent stretch of storms passing over the past week. Many of these storms have been accompanied by significant rain and flash floods, causing some flooding on streets and even causing some roads or interstates to become impassable.
To help resolve some of the potential issues, Judge contacted the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Offices of Water Resources to request a study of the county’s creeks, and any problems they may be causing to allow for such flooding.
It is important to note though, Wabash County wasn’t alone in battling the rising waters.
“Hopefully we can get some resolution on this flooding issue, but when you get four inches of rain in a two-hour time period, Mount Carmel’s not the only place that was flooding... It was just everywhere.” Judge stated.
Commissioner Thomas Meeks, Judge, as well as City Administrator Rudy Witsman addressed this point as well, citing that residents should continue to monitor their sewer drains to watch for any blockages, and should refrain from blowing their grass into the street, as they can be a primary culprit for such flooding.
“As we have preached for many, many years, don’t blow your grass in the street,” Witsman said. “That’s a classic case of the drain may be clean before the storm starts, but once the heavy rain starts that grass washes into the sewer drain and floods it up.”
Commissioner Chandler Madden later added that residents should watch for sitting water, as it’s becoming mosquito season. The city has begun mosquito spraying, but the downpour, coupled with the warming weather is bringing the pesky insects back into the fold for summer.
Just a reminder that City Hall and all city offices will be closed on Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day.
Small Business Stabilization Program first public hearing
The city will hold its first public hearing for an application toward the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program next Wednesday at 4 p.m. at City Hall.
The program offers a $25,000 grant to businesses, which is funneled from the city into a special account following the acceptance of application. Applications can be found at City Hall for those interested.
Witsman encouraged businesses who are interested in applying, to do so as soon as possible. The city hopes to consolidate these public hearings for applications as much as possible.
“Just to remind businesses, this is an application for working capital and it is available to you,” Witsman said. “We have an application here at City Hall that you’re required to fill out, then we have to have a public hearing on your application and the money will all be funneled through the city into a special account to those selected to participate in the program. The grant amount is up to $25,000. If there are others out there who would like to make an application, please step forward as soon as possible. We would like to consolidate these into one public hearing if that’s possible.”
RDUB Investments, the owners of Subway, requested for $15,000 from the city to assist in the demolition of the current Subway location, while the company constructs a new building for the food franchise in Mount Carmel.
It won’t be moving too far, however.
The new location will be adjacent to the current building, and the current location will continue operation while the new restaurant is constructed.
RDUB Investments owns the property with the couple storefront properties at the square, so the new location would likely be the vacant storefront building just to the left of the restaurant.
It’s unclear when construction on the project will officially commence.