Harrisburg City Council met in an unusually brief session comprised mainly of a property sale issue Thursday, that appears to be paving the way for a new upscale liquor store in the city.
Only Commissioners John McPeek as mayor pro tem, Bart Schiff and Dale Fowler were present.
Council authorized the sale of property for $2,500 near the intersection of Locust Street and Commercial Street — former location of the Johnson's Barbecue stand — to Diederich Properties through the law firm of Adam Lawler of Marion.
Jeffery Diederich, owner of Speakeasy Liquors in Marion — an upscale liquor and cigar store — has applied for a liquor sale license at that location.
According to information included with the bid the intended store will be 5,300 square feet with a drive-through and parking areas.
Diederich Properties states in the bid it has a firm commitment from a general contractor commence construction within 30 days of closing the transaction.
The estimated project investment between both Diederich Properties and its tenant, Speakeasy Liquors is $1,900,000 and is estimated to create 12 jobs in Harrisburg.
The floorplan includes a walk-in humidor, premium liquor room, red wine cellar, white wine and Champagne Cellar, walk-in cooler and a beer cave.
Garbage and Debris
City Attorney Todd Bittle told council of a need to amend the garbage and debris ordinance that would permit the city to clean an abandoned lot. The current ordinance requires certified mail notification to the owner or other notification that may not be productive. Bittle said city Ordinance Officer David Williams would like to use the same system used to enforce the tall grass ordinance — posting a sign on the property for seven days before the city cleans up.
Council directed Bittle to write up the proposed amendment for passage at a future meeting.
During the meeting:
Fire Chief Bill Summers asked for and received permission to initiate legal proceedings against three derelict properties: 310 E. Homer St., 220 W. Virginia St. and 14 E. Woolcott St.
Council asked the community to keep Mayor Ron Crank and regular council meeting attendee Judy Rann in prayers. Crank continues treatment for cancer and was unable to make the meeting due to a delay at the hospital. Schiff said Rann had suffered a stroke and was in a rehabilitation center in Evansville, Ind.
"She's been at our meetings ever since I've been here," he said.
Council approved placing a banner on Poplar Street for the Southeastern Illinois College Heritage Festival.
Fowler said work on the roof of city hall is nearing completion with only guttering remaining. He said Alene Carr of the Southeastern Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission says the National Historic Registry is asking for more information regarding improvements planned for the historic city hall's facade. Fowler said the agency is asking what is to be done and how it is to be installed. Council plans to use concrete to stabilize the crumbling facade.
Page 2 of 2 - Fowler reported the Southern Illinois University School of Journalism project from the weekend of Oct. 5 brought 30 to 35 students and about 20 professional photojournalists to town to work on the book "A Weekend in Harrisburg." He said the project went over very well with several local restaurants donating food and he is looking forward to seeing the book.