Galesburg Council discusses accepting downtown property to save from demo

Galesburg City Council

Galesburg aldermen last night talked about accepting the donation of a downtown property with structural deficiencies.

The city’s intention would be to spend up to $390,000 to correct a leaning wall on the building that is adjacent to Park Plaza, as well as repairing the roof.

City Manager Todd Thompson says the alternative is seeking demolition action against the owner. He says that would be a lengthy process, which would result in the city having to likely pay $400,000 for demolition.

“Rather than spending that kind of money and [losing a historic building], we would suggest accepting the donation and working to stabilize the property.”

Thompson says the city’s reason to step is because of how it affects Park Plaza and the potential public safety risk.

Director of Planning and Public Works Wayne Carl says the area next to the wall has been barricades on off for a year. He says the city has worked with the property owner since he acquired it in November 2018.

He adds the owner worked for several months to secure financing. When he was unable to the city approached him about the possibility of donation.

Council also approved an installation bid for playground equipment going up at Lombard Middle School.

While the city is spearheading the effort, as a part of their goal in the parks and rec plan to have a playground within 1.5 miles of every resident, District 205 is sharing the costs.

Parks and Director Tony Oligney-Estill says that he will send 205 an invoice today for about $85,000 to cover installation.

Alderman Peter Schwartzman sought some clarity on the city’s budgeting for the project. “This money was money that we had set aside a couple of years ago to build some significant community project.” $100,000 of those funds will still be available.

Council also approved two new Class A liquor licenses for two upcoming businesses.

La Cantanita, coming to 240 E. Simmons St and The Tap at 2100 Grand Avenue, were granted Galesburg’s 25th and 26th licenses. The city has the discretion to raise or lower the number of liquor licenses as the need arises.

Aldermen also held a discussion on changing their regular meeting time from 6:30 to 5:30 p.m. Alderman Schwartzman encouraged the public to weigh in on the change before the vote at their next meeting.

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