Facade grant

The first of facade grant applications was approved in Watseka.

The Watseka City Council approved the facade grant for Travel Discoveries Tuesday night.

Mayor John Allhands said that there are two other applications out that have not yet been returned to the city.

He said Travel Discoveries is wanting to do some facade work and applied for the grant application from the city.

“It’s for some windows and some painting,” he said. The total amount is $3,725 and the owners are asking for half of that amount, or $1,862. 50.

Building Inspector Eric Brandt said the project is good.

The council approved the grant request 7-0.

According to the city’s information, the program helps revitalizing commercial buildings on Walnut Street from Route 1 South and North.

The business owner must apply and the building must be occupied by an existing business or a potential business must be designated to move into the building. Renovations must follow city guidelines and the final design and plan must be approved by the city council. The work cannot begin until the city approves the grant application to be covered by the grant.

The program will pay up to 50 percent of total costs of a project, with a maximum limit of $5,000.

The city has as much as $50,000 to go toward facade projects. The application can be found on the city’s website at watsekcity.org.

In another matter, the city continues to look at personnel issues.

Allhands said at Tuesday’s Watseka City Council meeting that the personnel committee met a couple of times to look at staffing and employees’ duties.

He said he and Cahoe, would meet with public works director Marvin DeLahr and water and wastewater director Greg Marks about separating public works and water and sewer.

“This will be on the public works agenda,” he said. “We’ll get some parameters set to see if this can work. I know we came out of the personnel committee meeting to at least present it to the full council.”

Alderman Mark Garfield said, “While I’m definitely in agreement with separation, we as a council shouldn’t rush into this endeavor. In the current financial climate we are facing and the uncertainty of tax revenues, purchasing property in my opinion is not a viable option at this time.

“We have office spaces currently that can be used down at the public works building and here at city hall,” he said. “As a city we must continue to move forward with the repairs and improvements to the city’s water and wastewater systems. We are a team and we should act as a team.”