Sidewalk debate continues
A proposed sidewalk project along east Wanda Lane from Fifth to Seventh streets was tabled during Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Fairbury City Council.
Local resident Terry Zimmerman voiced concerns over the project as his property already has a sidewalk in place.
“Our walkway is almost never used,” stated Zimmerman.
While Zimmerman said he understands the school has safety concerns for students, he feels the biggest safety issue on the street is speeding vehicles. Solutions Zimmerman suggested include allowing parking only on one side of the street for bigger events at the nearby high school or even using speed bumps and increasing patrols.
“In 11 years, I’ve seen one patrol car sitting on Wanda Lane after school.”
Zimmerman also said he does not want to lose so many feet at the front of his property due to the new sidewalk installation.
Mayor David Slagel agreed the speeding or one-sided parking may need to be addressed, but still pointed to the need for a sidewalk.
“Now when kids leave school, they really don’t have a choice to go on a sidewalk,” Slagel explained.
The school came to the city about doing something and the sidewalk plan is what the city came up with in collaboration with the district. Street Superintendent Martin Steidinger warned of putting the sidewalk right against the curb as a buffer is needed so snow is not thrown over the sidewalk when plows are out.
“This isn’t going to interfere with the fiber optic line?” asked Zimmerman.
“No it won’t,” replied Steidinger.
This project was intended to be done in 2020 but never got off the ground yet due to COVID. Work has to be done by July or the city loses the funding which was earmarked for this specifically. The power company must remove a few poles first and the city plans to do intake work.
Alderman Jerry Hoffman and others on the council expressed interest in looking at the area and researching the matter further. The sidewalk project will be put back on the council’s next meeting agenda for a vote.
In another matter Wednesday night, the Fairbury City Council appointed Patricia Steidinger as fire clerk. The role includes payroll, creating different reports and keeping information for OSHA.
Street Superintendent Steidinger reported work is coming along well at Old City Hall as the only thing left will be the floor. The furnace duct work is not completely done but the heat is working well. Some painting still needs to be done.
Alderman Gary Norris noted City Clerk Alexandria Reis has been working hard to line-up lifeguards for the swimming pool and a pool manager has been hired. Facility improvements are being considered and Norris is hopeful some of those will come this year.
“There’s a lot of work putting together the swim meets and other activities,” Norris said.
Complaints about a train blocking the railroad crossings in town were received by Alderman Charles Hoselton. City Superintendent Brett Ashburn said he talked to someone from the company and that should not be happening.
“He was going to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” stated Ashburn.
Increases to the pay ordinance and contracts for the police chief and city superintendent were also authorized at the meeting along with the consent agenda which included meeting minutes, voucher invoice register and overtime report.