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Thomas Clatterbuck

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The Jacksonville City Council has tabled a resolution endorsing adding the downtown area to the Register of Historic Places. Getting the district listed in the Register would allow some property owners access to tax credits. Because the official decision on the Register designation will likely be decided before the next meeting, tabling the discussion is a de facto “no” vote. The Council took no action on the Local Landmark District.

Public engagement from property owners was cited as the main reason the Council voted to table the resolution. Bob Bonjean was the most vocal critic of the proposed district. He was concerned about weakening the rights of property owners to modify their properties as they saw fit. Other owners felt they had not been property informed that the district was being created, and said they had only learned about it in the last few weeks.

It was a classic case of the future belonging to those who show up. Opponents of the district were present at both meetings, but no owners who supported the district came out. Even aldermen who were personally supportive of the district saw these as valid concerns and delayed the vote. However, the district may still be listed in the National Registry because that is decided by state and federal authorities. The local landmark district that had also been proposed is still being discussed.

Rising rents at the trailer parks

The Council also heard a presentation by several residents of the local trailer park communities. Ron Hoffstadt, Danny Davison, and Gary Barrow discussed how the lot rents at several local parks were being raised dramatically. New ownership of the parks has almost doubled the average rents. While unpopular with tenants, they appear to be within their rights to do.

However, the increased rents present a problem for the current residents. Although they are called “mobile homes,” they are mobile only relative to other buildings. Moving one is a serious undertaking. It can cost several thousand dollars to move a single trailer, and many homes are made up of two or more connected trailers. For the many residents who are on fixed incomes, relocation can be extremely difficult. They also fear that the higher rents will make selling their homes a challenge.

No matter the problems it cause for current residents, no one disputes the legal right of the new owners to raise their rents. The Council was sympathetic to the residents, but was unsure what, if anything, they could do to help. A meeting will be held tonight at the Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville at 6:30 to discuss the issue further.

You can watch the chamber session above, or the workshop session below:

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Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council committee of the whole February 13th, 2019

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council committee of the whole. This meeting was moved from the 12th for Lincoln’s birthday. Brian McFadden from Sangamon County spoke about the animal control situation and the county’s policies.

UIS baseball coach Chris Ramirez was recognized for his team’s achievements. Ramirez was awarded coach of the year.

This meeting was preceded by a special City Council meeting, where $1.2 million in TIF funding was approved for the Poplar Place Redevelopment Project. This money will go towards road infrastructure for the area. The council was unanimous in their support for the project, and looks forward to the multi-million dollar development.

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Boy Scout day at Jacksonville City Council showcases parliamentary procedure

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City council meetings can be a intimidating event for the first time visitor. The procedures that help the meetings run smoothly can be difficult to understand or track if you don’t know what’s going on. But at last night’s city council meeting in Jacksonville, local Boy Scouts got a hands-on look at why the council does things this way. This chance for the scouts to take part in the council meeting is an annual event.

The meeting’s agenda was routine. Claims were paid, and the liquor ordinance was amended. But the lack of action was a chance for Mayor Ezard and the aldermen to explain the procedure for the meeting.

During the workshop, the parks and lakes department also discussed a grant they are trying for to expand the trails at Lake Jacksonville. You can watch that discussion in the player below.

 

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LIVE | Springfield City Council meeting February 5th

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council meeting for February 5th, 2019. There will be a presentation on the National Register of Historic Place’s survey of the Central East Neighborhood, as well as a presentation from the Mayor’s Youth Council. A new bike share program for the Springfield area will also be voted on.

This is the power point that will accompany the registry presentation City Council Presentation Central Neighborhood Study.

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