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Macomb

Rich Egger

Older cities generally have some older trees. A city council member suggested Macomb be prepared for the replacement process by starting a tree farm.

Alderman At Large Dennis Moon said Macomb could use some city-owned land just east of Oakwood Cemetery to plant the trees.

"The newer part of Oakwood needs some trees. The older part is losing a lot of its trees because of storm damage and they are getting some age on them," Moon said.

Rich Egger

More information is now known about plans to replace the Wigwam Hollow Road bridge in Macomb.

A public hearing on the project was held during the City Council's September 4 meeting. Eric Moe of McClure Engineering said the bridge will be widened from 20 feet to 30 feet. A sidewalk will be added on the east side for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Moe said the bridge will be doubled in length to 200 feet. It will stretch from Jana Road to Woodland Lane. He said the new length will prevent floodwaters from topping the bridge.

Rich Egger

It could soon cost more if you violate certain ordinances in Macomb.

City staff researched the fines charged in other college towns in Illinois and drafted a proposal for aldermen to review.

“We're not trying to target anybody unless they target us,” said Seventh Ward Alderman Clay Hinderliter. “If they choose to do the right thing, everything will be fine.”

Aldermen will hold first reading of the changes on Tuesday, September 4.

For the most part, the fines will increase $50 if aldermen approve the changes.

Rich Egger

Aldermen are reviewing whether to alter the Facade Forgivable Loan Program based on recommendations from the City Council's Community Development Committee.

One proposal is to increase the city's share of the costs for facade improvements from 50% to 66%.

“That would mean if somebody had a $30,000 project, they could get $20,000 of that from us and $10,00 of their own money. If that's not incentive enough to put on their best face, I don't know what else we can do,” said Seventh Ward Alderman Clay Hinderliter.

Other recommendations include:

Rich Egger

The City of Macomb has taken steps to ensure the water continues to flow this summer despite the drought.

Mayor Mike Inman said water from one of the city's deep wells is being pumped into Spring Lake, which is the city's water source.

“The water manager started pumping from one of our deep wells the first week of July,” Inman said.

“We're pumping roughly 800 gallons a minute from that deep well into the lake, trying to maintain the water level there.”

The city has two deep wells. Both are at Spring Lake.

Baseball teams from Macomb and Colchester were scheduled to play a five-game series in mid-1921.

The series was tied 2-2 after four games with the deciding 5th game scheduled for September 11.

The game was played at the Macomb fairgrounds in front of more than 1,600 people.

The contest was about to begin when a car pulled up and three of the infamous Chicago Black Sox (Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ed Cicotte and Swede Risberg) got out and joined the Colchester team.

Rich Egger

Macomb is in talks with BNSF that could help the city expand. The plan is to annex the railroad's right-of-way westward to the future site of the Macomb bypass.

“Our primary goal is to take advantage of those folks willing to come in that are businesses -- commercial developments -- that bring sales tax revenue in to the city,” said Mayor Mike Inman.

He said the annexation might also increase the city's population base, though he feels that would be “icing on the cake.”

Inman said Macomb and BNSF have been in negotiations for the better part of a year.

Dudley Skate Park Project Delayed

Jul 26, 2012

The Dudley Street Skate Park will have to wait for concrete ramps and other structures from a California manufacturer.

Park District Director Ray Peterson says those structures are expected to arrive September 16.

He says, “Unfortunately, when you make that order you get in line. And when you're dealing with the number one supplier in the United States, a few days makes a difference on when you got in line, apparently.”

Peterson also says the district cannot invoke a penalty clause in the contract with the manufacturer since the delay is just a matter of production.

Hunziker Storage Building Gets Reprieve

Jul 23, 2012

A storage building owned by Chad Hunziker will be spared destruction. The Macomb City Council removed it from a list of buildings slated for demolition.

Alderman-at-large Don Wynn says Hunziker  has made a lot of improvements to the building.

He says, “I went out and looked at that building. And it's, from the outside of it, it's pretty secure. I mean, it's got a new roof on it  (It) does have some problems.”

Fifth-ward Alderman Dave Dorsett says the progress must continue.

NTN Bower Breaks Ground for New Plant

Jul 18, 2012

The turning of a few shovelfuls of dirt marked the beginning of construction of a new NTN Bower plant next to its existing facility in Macomb.

Craig Allen, production control general manager in Macomb, says the $100 million project will give the company greater capacity to produce existing products.

He says, “It will primarily be in the tapered roller bearing (product), which is where our big demand is right now. And it will allow us to significantly expand in that market area.”

Rich Egger

A property owner is trying to prevent one of his buildings from being demolished under Macomb's “Fix or Flatten” program for dilapidated structures.

Chad Hunziker, who is a landlord, said he is using the building at 121 South Albert Street as a warehouse to store appliances and other items. He told aldermen the building is not unsafe.

“We're trying to be proactive here and I think we try to work with the city well,” Hunziker said.

But Fourth Ward Alderman Thomas Koch said photos of the building show there are a number of loose bricks.

Area Cooling Centers for the Public

Jul 5, 2012

Due to the extreme heat we are experiencing around the area, a number of public cooling stations have been set-up. If you, or anyone you know, is in need of relief from the heat please check the list below to find the closest location in your area.

In Macomb, IL

Emphasis - June 15

Jun 15, 2012

Rich Egger's guests are author and historian John Hallwas and former Macomb Mayor Bob Anstine. They talk about the city's annual Heritage Days celebration, which takes place Thursday, June 21 - Sunday, June 24.

Heritage Days began during Anstine's administration. He thinks the first one was held in 1981.

“We were looking for an annual activity. We came up with this concept - the city city council, the Chamber of Commerce, and others - and that's when it started,” Anstine said.

Rich Egger

There are plenty of streets in need of repair in Macomb and the city council is now looking at options to pay for the work.

Aldermen this week discussed whether to issue bonds.  Sixth Ward Alderman Tim Lobdell said he's debated the idea for a while and now believes it's the city's best solution.

“I hope we see the long-term value in this. You're talking capital projects. They're going to be used in the future. Those people should be paying the interest debt on them in the future as well,” Lobdell said.

Rich Egger

The city council voted in favor of a resolution of support for seeking $1.1 million in federal grant funding for the West Adams Street revitalization project.

“This project is the gateway to Western Illinois University,” said Eric Moe of McClure Engineering. “It's often the first impression for newcomers to our community.”

Western Illinois University's new performing arts center should be ready for its scheduled opening in the fall of 2015.

Project Manager Ted Renner says the project should go out for contractor bids in late fall. Construction could begin in January.  Renner is confident the project will receive state funding to stay on schedule.

Rich Egger

The city plans to lay out 100 new camp sites to the south and west of the existing campgrounds at Spring Lake Park.

City Administrator Dean Torreson told aldermen the development can be done in stages.

“Maybe 20 at a time or something like that, 25 at a time as we can afford it and as the market can absorb it,” Torreson said.

A city memo said once the project is completed, the city will rework some existing sites. That project will include installation of new utility lines.

Rich Egger

Macomb aldermen have been asked for several years to take action to improve the safety of the Grant Street and Maple Avenue intersection. They now appear ready to do so.

They will decide at their June 4, 2012 meeting whether the city should buy solar powered pedestrian crossing lights for that intersection and for West Adams Street, just east of Wigwam Hollow Road.

Macomb city council members want more information about a proposal to refund money to those who live outside the city limits who paid for a hook-up to the city's water service.

Macomb estimates it charged an average of $3,000 to the 18 people in question. Aldermen appear willing to lower the fee from this point forward but they're not sold on the idea of giving refunds.

Schock Says Provision Prevents Medicaid Reform

May 14, 2012

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (R-18) says a provision of the Affordable Care Act prevents Illinois from enacting serious Medicaid reform. That provision prevents states from reducing benefits or tightening requirements to qualify for Medicaid.

The House has passed a measure to repeal that provision.

Schock says, “They (federal government) have Illinois trapped right now in a situation where they can't reduce their budget deficit, reduce their spending.”

Bridge Replacement to Begin

May 11, 2012

The first of two bridges north of Macomb on U.S. 67 will be replaced this construction season. They're located one mile south of the intersection with Highway 9.

Crews will begin the $4 million project May 14th.

Bill Lewis is the construction field engineer for the project. County Contractors, Inc. of Quincy will do the work.

He says, “The schedule's pretty tight for them to get that first structure done this year. So they'll jump into that right away.”

The oak tree planted in Macomb's Chandler Park this year has a plaque at its base. The plaque honors the late Bob Swanson.

Swanson was a nurseryman who grew his beyond his profession into volunteering to  plant trees in Macomb.

He was one of the original members of the city's Tree Board 20 years ago.

Former Mayor Tom Carper appointed him at that time.

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).”

One year ago, an estimated 3,000 partiers gathered on a two block stretch of Wheeler Street in Macomb to celebrate the approaching end of the WIU school year.

Broken glass littered the street, numerous arrests were made, and a crowd control team was needed to break up the gathering.

The scene was much different this past weekend. Police were there to keep an eye on things but there was not much to see. Several smaller parties were held, no arrests were made, and no citations were issued.

Rich Egger

Macomb won't be joining the list of Illinois communities going on the open market to buy electricity in bulk for consumers.

A 2010 Illinois law allows municipalities to engage in electric aggregation and presumably secure cheaper prices for residents and small businesses.

Residents of Ipava, Table Grove, and Canton voted in favor of such plans during the March election.

But Macomb aldermen feel there is no evidence of significant savings.

World Book Night Comes to Macomb

Apr 23, 2012

Devotees of the written word will share their passion and free books April 23rd. It's the first World Book Night in the United States.

Macomb is one of 5,000 U.S. communities chosen to take part. The city's public library and New Copperfield's Book Store were selected as distributors. World Book Night is sponsored by a consortium of book publishers and authors who donate the books.

Linda Cox of New Copperfield's said “book givers” each have 20 books to give away.

World Book Night Comes to Macomb

Apr 23, 2012

Devotees of the written word will share their passion and free books April 23rd. It's the first World Book Night in the United States.

Macomb is one of 5,000 U.S. communities chosen to take part. The city's public library and New Copperfield's Book Store were selected as distributors. World Book Night is sponsored by a consortium of book publishers and authors who donate the books.

Linda Cox of New Copperfield's said “book givers” each have 20 books to give away.

Macomb's Earth Day Celebration will bring the public close to nature with several birds of prey on display.

Veterinarian Drew Kaiser is head of the Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Quincy. He will bring a red-tailed hawk, a kestrel, a barn owl and a screech owl to the event.

People love to watch the magnificent birds.  However, he says we are not their best friends.

He says, “80% of the time the trauma that we see are man-made. Whether that's your posts, telephone poles, fences, automobiles, things like that.”

Districts Will Compare Notes on New Curricula

Apr 18, 2012

Next school year will be a year of transition for Illinois districts. Many will complete the transition to new Common Core standards adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Macomb Superintendent Alene Reuschel said the change makes professional development more urgent for teachers.

She said, “Schools traditionally have their own kickoff meetings but this time we're going to come together as an education community. And because we're all facing many of the same challenges, especially in the Common Core.”

The City of Macomb sent a letter to businesses that sell package liquor to forewarn them an emergency order could be issued the final weekend of April.

The Wheeler Street block party - which has gotten out of control in recent years - has been held during the final weekend of  April.

Mayor Mike Inman said the order would not limit the amount of alcohol the businesses could sell but rather would restrict the sale of liquor in glass containers.

He said it's a matter of public safety.

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