$27,000 in donations designated to Ottawa’s parks

Odd Fellows, South Ottawa Township make donations

Ray Jackson, Deputy Grand Master of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Illinois, on Tuesday night presents to the Ottawa City Council a check for $3,000 from his organization to benefit the city's parks.

Tuesday night was a great night for children in Ottawa.

Deputy Grand Master Ray Jackson of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Illinois, who is past noble grand master of Illinois Lodge 41 in Ottawa, presented a check to the Ottawa City Council worth $3,000 for the city’s parks program to repair, replace or recondition its playground equipment.

The group, which has been around since the early 1700s in England, 1819 in the U.S. and 1948 in Ottawa, has been doing charitable work since its inception.

“We can’t destroy evil because we’re not Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne – we’re just odd fellows, elevating the character of mankind one person at a time,” Jackson said.

In addition, Commissioner Marla Pearson announced that South Ottawa Township donated $24,000 to cover the cost of a new shelter at the south side’s Peck Park.

The council also approved a quote of $106,853 from NuToys Leisure Products in suburban Westchester for playground equipment on the upper level of Allen Park. Those funds are part of an Open Spaces Lands Acquisition and Development grant the city received.

And, per Pearson’s motion, the city will advertise for bids for further portions of the Allen Park renovation project.

“It was a great night for the parks in Ottawa,” Pearson said. “It was a very nice donation from the Odd Fellows, and that donation will go into a general fund for all the park projects we have going on now. No one more important than the others. [It will be] for general expenses. … And the donation from South Ottawa Township is also very exciting. It was just a fun night for all of the parks.”

Mayor Robb Hasty offered and had approved a property use and maintenance agreement with the YMCA regarding a shared 20-foot-wide strip of land between the Y’s property line and Canal Street.

The agreement will allow the YMCA to establish an entry plaza to be named in honor of local attorney and former Mayor Robert Eschbach in exchange for the Y’s agreement to maintain that property.

Hasty also invited the public to a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, in the council chambers to present the findings of the downtown feasibility study performed by Place Dynamics of New Berlin, Wisconsin, outlining the possibility of residential short-term rentals of downtown buildings.

Leading the discussion will be Place Dynamics principal owner Michael Stumpf.

In other action, the council:

  • Authorized an engineering and design agreement with Etscheid, Duttlinger and Associates for the 2024 portion of the city’s water main replacement project. Commissioner Brett Barron said the south side of the city should be completed by the end of this year.
  • Approved a quote of $8,774 from Tyler Technologies for project accounting software.
  • Authorized collective bargaining agreements with AFSCME Local 2819 and the International Association of Firefighters Local 523.
  • Approved a grant agreement with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources regarding the South Bluff Historic Survey.
  • Authorized an agreement to have a WGN Weather Bug station located near the Jordan Block.