Pepsin Hill

Railway frames three sides of Pepsin Hill near downtown Monticello. The city hopes to generate ideas for developing the site later this year.

Cleanup of a small tract of land connected to the former Syrup Pepsin property in Monticello will likely wait until this winter, but a process to attract developers to the adjacent, two-acre “Pepsin Hill” will proceed.

City Community Development Director Callie Jo McFarland said the 2,600-square-foot section known as “Tract 8” will be excluded in requests for proposal, at least for now.

McFarland said using the RFP process will allow the city to have some control over what is placed on Pepsin Hill, which was cleaned up in 2005 with state and federal dollars that included Brownfield funding.

Because the property is in a TIF (Tax Increment Financing district), we have the ability to say we want a certain type of development in that area, kind of like we did for the Moore Building,” said McFarland. “We want something that is going to, obviously, generate jobs, property tax and sales tax. We also want something that will lend itself towards downtown.”

The Moore Building was purchased by Champaign developer Spencer Atkins, who renovated the former bank building into a multi-use property with Christie Clinic as its first tenant.

McFarland added development of the former Pepsin property will allow the city to expand the downtown area across Route 105.

Helping move the process along is a favorable opinion from the Illinois EPA that an engineered barrier (likely a road) is not needed between the railroad tracks and the Pepsin property. That means that a planned realignment of Livingston Street along the tracks is being shelved for now.

As for Tract 8, which experienced a leak of an overhead fuel tank, the city received no bids on the required remediation that will haul away four feet of dirt and replace it with clean fill. McFarland indicated that contractors were interested in the work, but were too busy to get to it until winter.

For that reason, the city will pursue the request for proposals from developers, with the future of Tract 8 to be determined after remediation is completed.