The Hoopeston City Council voted on the question of allowing gaming parlors in the city during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Mayor Bill Cruisinberry, who attended the meeting via Zoom, informed the council that he had received a request from Jeremy Deck seeking a liquor license in the hopes of setting up a gaming parlor in the former Wolfe Funeral Home building on Main Street.

Crusinberry reported that Deck had acquired the property and plans on moving his business there and had hoped to use a portion of the building for a gaming parlor.

Crusinberry spoked with Deck and told him that the city had a standing policy for several years prohibiting gaming parlors in the city.

“After much discussion, I told him I was staying with my gaming parlor policy,” he said. “I would not license a room with liquor license just so they could have games and really make no attempt to be a bar or a restaurant.”

Crusinberry said Deck didn’t accept this answer well, so Crusinberry told him that he could petition the council members and if six of them supported his proposal, they could vote to override Crusinberry’s decision.

Crusinberry thought about the issue all weekend and said he almost changed his mind one time, but then he started taking everything into consideration.

“We’re going to open up the door to more gaming parlors if we let them come,” he said. “I don’t know how we could draw a line in the sand and say yes to some and no to others. I’m going to stick to my decision: no gaming parlors in Hoopeston.”

Crusinberry said Deck has the right to petition the council and the council can vote to override his decision with a supermajority of votes.

Crusinberry said he had spoken with former Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer about the issue of gaming parlors, pointing out that he hadn’t seen gaming parlors popping up in Danville like they have in other communities around the area like Tilton, Westville and Watseka.

“[Eisenhauer] felt the same way, he didn’t feel they were in the best interest of the town,” Crusinberry said.

Crusinberry added that he felt granting this request for a liquor license for a gaming parlor would set a bad precedent for the city as it would mean any retail business in the city could get a liquor license and set up a gaming parlor in their business.

Crusinberry also pointed out that he doesn’t like spot changing policies for one business.

“I don’t like to spot change rules just to accommodate one business,” he said. “It would set a precedent for other businesses to come in and do the same thing.”

Crusinberry opened the matter up for discussion among the council.

None of the council members asked any questions regarding the matter, but Alderwoman Lourdine Florek asked they should ask if any council members would like to make a motion in favor of overriding the mayor’s decision.

Crusinberry said they could just to have the opinion of the council on the public record.

Alderman Steve Eyrich put forth the motion and Alderwoman Kellie Ferrell seconded. Eyrich and Ferrell, who were obligated vote yes due to making the motion, and Alderman Kyle Richards were the only members of the council to vote yes on the motion.

Crusinberry said he would have city administrative coordinator Dawn Layden send Deck a letter informing him of the decision.

Deck addressed the council during the public comment portion of the meeting.

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Deck told the council that he didn’t see any difference between what he planned to do what and what was already in place at businesses such as Tedd’s and Marathon in Hoopeston.

In other business, Alderman Jeff Wise discussed the city’s efforts to bring take down problematic trees.

He said the city took down 18 trees last week, but had been hampered by weather for much of this week.

Wise said they have a least two or three more weeks of tree work to do and hopes to get that number closer to 80.

He said he has heard some complaints about the stumps the city is leaving behind after they bring down trees.

Wise said the city is leaving the stumps alone for the time being since they are paying a worker to focus on bringing down the trees now.

He said the plan is for city workers to go back later on with a stump grinder and remove the stumps then.

“We will get those done, but that’s going to get pushed back later,” he said.

Wise said the city’s annual alley clean-up may get pushed back to a later date and there is the possibility that it may not happen this year depending on the situation with the trees.

“We’ve been fighting this tree situation since I’ve been on here, so it’s been two and a half years, and we have the potential to eliminate 90 percent of the issue,” he said. “So we’re not going to back down on the issue and say ‘Oh we’ll get the trees later, we’ll do alley clean-up.’ I know a lot of people aren’t going to be happy about it. It’s not written in stone yet, but it may happen, just to let you know.”

In other business:

- Crusinberry also informed the council that he had spoken with a representative of Casey’s regarding the truck stop project at the intersection of Routes 1 and 9. He said they are hoping to resume work at the location soon.

- Crusinberry said that Dave Silver had informed the city that he would have to withdraw his bid to clean up the Suiter property on Market Street.

Crusinberry said Silver’s bid was based on bid specifications provided by the city which were based upon procedures given to them by the asbestos inspector.

He said the specifications included minimal asbestos on-site.

However, Crusinberry said when Silver applied to the Illinois EPA for a demolition permit, they rejected the inspector’s report and are now requiring all the debris to be treated as contaminated with asbestos.

Crusinberry said he forwarded an email to the council regarding the matter and said it would be the agenda for the next meeting.

He said the council will have to decide whether they want to move forward with Silver’s new bid or put the project out for bids again.

The council is scheduled to meet next at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at Hoopeston City Hall.

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