Macomb, IL – The head of the Illinois Arts Council says the group's current focus is on arts education issues. Terry Scrogum says he'd like to see the agency enhance arts education throughout the state. Scrogum says while the arts council was working on its strategic plan for the next five years, it found that arts education is extremely important to people throughout Illinois. He says the council is now in the process of putting the final touches on that strategic plan. The Illinois Arts Council is a state agency that's been in existence since 1965.
Keokuk, IA – Businesses looking to locate or expand in rural Lee County may receive some financial assistance in the future. The creation of the Economic and Port Authority appears to have more companies considering relocating to Lee County. Supervisor Joe Kowzan says the county should take this opportunity to design a tax incentive program for its rural and unincorporated areas. He says the county could exempt the taxes on construction for new businesses, or for those looking to expand, on a sliding scale for 5 years.
Hamilton, IL – Hamilton's new waterplant could soon be up and running. Water Superintendent, Tim Schilson, says Hamilton's new 1,000,000 gallon/day facility should be online within a couple of weeks. He says, at first, the new plant and the old plant will work in tandem to supply water. Schilson says the testing of some components, such as the clearwell system, has already been completed. He says the tests on structures, such as the filters and pump chambers, are still pending.
Havana – Two West-Central Illinois towns are working to establish bicycle-hiking paths. Havana has received a $400,000 state grant to pay 80 percent of the cost of a trail that will go from downtown past the riverfront and on to baseball diamonds just outside of town. Mayor Dale Roberts says the town must come up with $102,000 in matching funds. In Rushville, a group of bicycle fans will apply for a planning grant. Mayor Ron Shepherd says the group wants to link Scripps Park, which is near town, with a three-mile trail to Schuy-Rush Park where the town's ball diamonds are.
Macomb, IL – A developer wants to build more student housing on Macomb's west side, but neighborhood residents are making it clear they do not like the plan. The proposal calls for 36 ranch style homes, 22 single story duplexes, and 22 two story four-plexes. They would be built on a 35-acre site at South Ward and Piper Streets. Developer Art McManus says it's a low density use of the site. He also told the city council it's a $16 million plan that would generate $400,000 in property taxes. Right now, the land is a corn field that's just west of a neighborhood of single family homes.
Keokuk, IA – Some state money will help pay for improvements at the Keokuk Municipal Airport. Airport Manager, Greg Gobble, says the near $51,000 grant will be used to upgrade the airport's operations center. Gobble says the facility's entrance and restrooms will also be made handicapped accessible. Construction could get underway in a couple of months. Gobble says the terminal improvements are important because the creation of the Port Authority has increased traffic at the airport.
Nauvoo, IL – Some places in Nauvoo that offer overnight lodging are apparently not paying the city's six percent bed tax. Tourism Director Rustin Lippincott says the failure to pay harms both tourism efforts and the city's infrastructure. He says the first $70,000 in receipts go for tourism efforts. The city uses all beyond that for infrastructure. Last year the city received $70,000. Lippincott says city police are investigating and the Hancock County State's Attorney has indicated a willingness to prosecute.
McDonough County, IL – More trash could soon be coming into McDonough County - and that's something local leaders like. Waste Management says it will begin using its new landfill cell within the next week or two. It'll be the first part of a nearly 60-acre expansion at the site. County Board Chairman Bob Harwick says it will allow the company to seek contracts with more local governments, which could result in more money for McDonough County. The county will initially get $60,000 per year from the expansion because of a new host fee.