The Monticello Recreation Foundation continues to work on raising funds for a proposed $10 million park complex for the city, but a spokesman told the city council that if it becomes a reality, it will be a while before ground is broken.
“What we have been told is, the amount of money we’re looking at raising, we are told it will take two years to raise that amount of money, then another two years for the project. So this is still out there a ways,” Recreation Foundation board member Doug Lilly told the Monticello city council on Nov. 25.
The foundation has taken on the mantle of fundraising for the long-desired multi-faceted rec complex, which would be placed on 30 acres of city owned land near the Allerton Public Library and Appletree Subdivision. It would include several ball fields, a soccer field, walking path and fishing pond.
An estimate received earlier this year pegged the cost of construction at around $9.2 million, a cost the city said they could not incur at this time.
The foundation held a public meeting in the fall, which led to committees being formed in the areas of major gifts, social media, fundraising and grants.
Lilly said progress can be slow with busy volunteers, but that he is pleased with the quality of those who are helping out.
“We have some professional grant writers working on it, which is really encouraging to me,” he said.
Moore event space
An extensive restoration and renovation of the second floor of the Moore Building — formerly the First Mid-Illinois Bank building downtown — is nearly complete, and aldermen voted 6-1 to issue a liquor license to Moore Events in anticipation of its first use on Dec. 15.
Owner Spencer Atkins asked for a Class B license, which allows for sale by the drink on the premises. A modification of the liquor ordinance was needed to create a seventh Class B license, but the total number of available licenses will not change.
“In addition to creating a new one for the Moore Events space, what we customarily do is, if there is one vacated, is to eliminate that open one. And Shopko vacated theirs when they closed, which is a Class D,” said City Community Development Director Callie Jo McFarland.
The action reduces the number of Class D licenses, which allow package sales, to two in the city.
Alderman Rodney Burris was the lone “no” vote.
In other action, the council:
—approved a variance to allow A Small Hand – Piatt County Infant and Diaper Pantry and Piatt County Cares to move into city-owned property at 315 E. Center St. The plans include a two-year lease with the organization, which would not pay rent but would be responsible for utilities and maintenance of the property;
—approved a $19,000 contract with May, Cocagne & King, P.C. to conduct the city’s annual audit;
—approved special service taxing areas for Sage Meadows and Walden Pond, action needed each year to allow developers to levy sales tax up to 50 cents per $100 assessed valuation to recover subdivision development costs;
—held a first reading of the annual tax levy. Final approval is expected on Dec. 9;
—approved the purchase of a new Skid Steer, this one with rubber tracks that will be gentler on equipment and concrete at the new sewer plant;
—approved the list of 12 staff holidays for city employees, including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; and
—voted to keep city council meetings at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Monday of each month, except on Monday holidays. In those cases, meetings will be held the following Tuesday evening. Planning and zoning committee meetings also remain at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of the month.