Colchester

Rich Egger

A lot of financial and sweat equity is being poured into the historic old brick-making site in Colchester.

In The Tri States

Oct 7, 2012

A look back at the top stories and features from the Tri States Public Radio news department from September 2012.  

Reporter Jason Parrott told us about plans to build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in Lee County. He also reported on pending lay-offs at one of the county’s largest employers.

During the month, Colchester received some good news from the USDA, Lee County made plans to add beds to its jail, and a historic structure in Macomb received a national designation.

Funding Will Advance Colchester Sewer Project

Sep 10, 2012

Colchester has the last and most important component to move forward with a large-scale sewer project-money.

The USDA's Rural Development program will give the city a grant of a $1.56 million and a loan of $2.35 million. The interest rate on the loan is 2.125%.

Mayor Danny Bice is glad for the money but he still thinks it will put stress on the city's finances.

He says, “We were actually hoping to get a little bit more (in the grant). We're going to have to run the numbers and make sure it's still feasible for the customers in town.”

New Colchester Food Pantry to Open

Sep 5, 2012

Residents of Colchester who have trouble putting enough food on the dinner table will soon have another resource.

The Colchester Area Relief Effort or “CARE” has been organized in just a couple months. Alderwoman Frances Welch is one of the organizers. She says a lot has been accomplished in that time including the the formation of a board, adoption of by-laws and acquisition of a site.

Welch says the “honor system” might be used instead of set times for distribution.

Rich Egger

Rich Egger's guest is Tim Schroll of the Moses King Brick & Tile Works National Historic District near Colchester.

Schroll said that after years of searching for an engineering firm, they've found one willing to tackle the process of rehabilitating the Brickyard's beehive kilns.

“In fact, they're so excited about it that they've assigned a grant worker to our case to try to raise the funds for the structural analysis, which is the first step in the process of getting the kilns rebuilt,” said Schroll.

Mayor Seeks Water Meter for Fire Department

Aug 3, 2012

Colchester Mayor Danny Bice would like to get a clearer picture of the city's water consumption.

One step he would like to take is to install a water meter at the Colchester Fire protection District building.

Colchester Seeks Extension for Sewer Work

Jul 31, 2012

Colchester is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for up to eight years to complete a large-scale sewer project.

The city has two options to pay for the $4.2 million project.

If the city qualifies for loans and grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program, the project might be completed in four years.

If the project qualifies for grants through the EPA the project might take eight years. That's because the city could only apply every other year.

Residents Vent at Public Meeting

Jul 10, 2012

Colchester residents say they won't be able to afford sewer rates of $50 per month.  That's the maximum amount the city would have to charge if it has to finance the entire $4.2 million dollar cost of a sewer repair project that is being mandated by the federal EPA.

The city held a public hearing as part of the grant application process. The city is hoping to qualify for at least $1.1 million from the USDA's Rural Development program. The application must be completed by July 15th.

City to Hold Public Hearing on Sewer Rates

Jul 5, 2012

Residents of Colchester will get a chance to make their voices heard on sewer rate increases. The public hearing is Monday, July 9th, at 7 p.m. in city hall.

They face sewer rates of between $40 and $50 per month to pay for repairs to the city's sanitary sewer system. The hikes are needed to bring the city into compliance with federal EPA regulations.

Mayor Danny Bice hopes for a large turnout at the hearing.

Colchester Changes Plans on Sewer Project

Jun 26, 2012

Colchester planned to take nearly a decade to complete a large-scale sewer replacement project with an estimated price tag of $4.2 million.

The city will now seek to complete the project in the next four years. The change is driven by the prospects for grant funding.

Mayor Danny Bice says the city counted on a combination of state and federal grants to help pay for the project. It's necessary to meet federal EPA requirements.

The city has found the funding forecast a dismal one.

“Kelly” Wagle lived a charmed life. In the 1920s he had become successful as a bootlegger in Colchester which was “dry” for much of the decade. He had escaped the clutches of the law many times.

He left Brent's Restaurant and started to walk the two blocks to his home. An assassin pulled up in a Ford coupe and fired three shotgun blasts that ended Wagle's charmed life. Wagle died at 9:15 p.m. April 8, 1929.

Documentary filmaker Ryan Walker has been fascinated by Wagle's sordid story.

Colchester Water Main Fix Might Cost $70,000

Jun 7, 2012

The six-inch water main that supplies residents in a subdivision north of Colchester and others near Lake Argyle is in need of repair. It lays across the supporting structure under a bridge on North Coal Street. The line is sagging 14 inches at two different joints, one of which is leaking.

The city will pay $7,000 for a short-term fix. Tharp Brothers of Oquawka will shore up the line within the next 10 days.

The city won't know the condition of the line until that work is completed. The location makes inspection difficult. The pipe is also covered in insulation.

Colchester will have to find $100,000 to pay for the design of a large-scale sewer upgrade. It's hoping to get some help to prevent dipping into its reserves.

The city's new budget does not have enough revenue to pay for the project.

The state turned down the city's application for a grant last year. The grant would have covered the design cost.

Mayor Danny Bice hopes the EPA will change its mind.

Another rejection would leave the city few options.

Water Rate Hikes Are Becoming a “Hardship”

May 2, 2012

The mayor of Colchester says the rise in water rates from the city's supplier, Macomb, is becoming a “hardship” for residents.

Macomb will raise the water rates for Colchester 5% effective August 1.

Mayor Danny Bice says water rates have skyrocketed since the city started receiving its water from Macomb about nine years ago.

He says, “Sooner or later there has to be a stopping point on the water increase. Because it's (gone) up 150% since we hooked on (to Macomb service).”

Colchester Considers Adding Sewer Surcharge

Apr 3, 2012

Colchester residents might soon see a new charge on their sewer bills. It could be just the first of several.

The city council has given first reading to proposed ordinance to add the $4 monthly fee. The city needs the money because the Illinois EPA is requiring the city to update its sewer and water treatment systems.

Mayor Danny Bice said the city has little choice but to raise more money. The city is looking for financing from federal and state agencies.

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