Alderman Chad Yaden resigned from his seat on the Hoopeston City Council last week.

Mayor Bill Crusinberry announced Yaden’s resignation during last week’s city council meeting, which was held remotely for members of the public due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases around the city.

Crusinberry said Yaden had submitted his resignation Oct. 18 and no reason was given for his resignation.

Yaden is the second alderman to resign from the council in as many months as Alex Houmes resigned from his post on the council in early September.

Crusinberry said he is seeking letters of interest from city residents within Yaden and Houmes wards, Wards I and III respectively, who are interested in serving on the council to contact city hall by mailing letters to 301 W. Main St., Hoopeston, IL 60942 or emailing Crusinberry at billcrusinberry@cityofhoopeston.com.

Alderman Bill Goodwine recommended that the current members of the council reach out to members of the community and encourage them to seek appointment to the council.

Goodwine said he believes in trying to recruit people to serve and feels this would be the best way to fill the vacant seats.

He suggested obtaining a list of registered voters from each ward and looking for candidates among those lists.

Crusinberry said he would reach out to the Vermilion County Clerk’s office to see about getting the lists.

In a related discussion, Alderman Jeff Wise asked about one of the projects Yaden was undertaking in his role as chairman of the cemetery committee.

Wise asked if the planned digitization of cemetery records was still underway.

Crusinberry said the records are being digitized by Trish Stebbins

In an unrelated matter, the council approved an amended ordinance that has bee under consideration for several meetings.

The measure, which passed 5-0, is an amendment to the city’s nuisance ordinance aimed at allowing officials to cite property owners for standing water and overgrown brush on their properties.

The amendment has been under discussion by the council for some time, but had been tabled prior to last week due to questions about the language of the amendment specifically dealing with what kind of vegetation the amendment would cover.

Alderman Carl Ankenbrand asked who would enforce the new amended ordinance and Crusinberry said that Police Chief Bill DeWitt is currently issuing citations for ordinance violations.

Crusinberry said he plans to hire a licensed building inspector to handle dangerous building ordinance violations.

In other business:

- Wise informed residents that the city’s alley clean-up is ongoing and taking longer than expected due to weather conditions.

- The council approved a perpetual care bid of $2,730 from Treasured Roots for 39 grave blankets at Floral Hill Cemetery.

- Crusinberry updated the council on several of the buildings of concern in the city.

He reported that he had met with the new owner of the Countryside Mall Building.

The front of building was blocked off several weeks ago after the roof of the building reportedly partially collapsed.

Members of the council expressed concern that the stability of the building was in question and the awning that hangs over the sidewalk on Main Street could collapse with the stability provided by the roof.

The council considered having the awning removed, but no further action has been taken on the matter.

Crusinberry had spoken with the owner previously and asked him to develop a plan to repair the building with two weeks of the roof collapsing.

During his most recent discussion with him, the owner told Crusinberry that he was trying to patch the roof.

Crusinberry said the owner was attempting to patch the roof with tar which Crusinberry doesn’t consider a long-term solution to the problem.

Crusinberry told the council that it might want to consider sending the owner a 30-day notice and requiring him to prove the building is sound in that time frame along with providing a remediation plan.

Crusinberry said he’s currently in the process of reaching out to the heirs of the owner of the former Hoopeston Plumbing & Heating building regarding the clean-up of the remains of the building.

Crusinberry said he had been in touch with Justin Acton, the owner of the former Essex Building on Route 1.

He said they discussed potentially changing the time frames included in the agreement between Acton and the city regarding Acton’s plans for the building.

Work on restoring the building was slowed when asbestos was discovered on the site.

Crusinberry hopes to continue discussing the matter with Acton but said Acton is currently farming so it may take some time for that to happen.

Crusinberry reported that the owner of Bzzz’s Bar, which caught fire in March 2019, was due to appear in court on the disposition of the building this month but his appearance was moved to November after city hall was recently closed due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the area.

The Hoopeston City Council will next meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 3.

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