Marseilles City Council hears report on new city hall

Design phase nearly done, work inside could start in March

The Illinois Valley Cellular building is being eyed by the city of Marseilles to become the next City Hall and police department.

The design phase of the new Marseilles city hall and police station is progressing, according to Mayor Jim Hollenbeck, and at slightly less than the agreed upon amount.

At Wednesday night’s Marseilles City Council meeting, a payment of $20,800 to the design firm of Phalen Construction was among the bills paid, a portion of the $59,500 for that amount of the project.

The city purchased the former Illinois Valley Cellular building on Nov. 16 for $1.35 million and allotted $950,000 for renovations. The city offices and police are expected to occupy the building by late fall of this year.

“The building should be totally vacant by the end of next month,” Hollenbeck said, “so we should be able to get in there and start doing things shortly after that.”

City Engineer Mike Etscheid added at the second of two inspections done on the structure – done by Phalen itself, the actual constructor of the building – revealed a few minor leaks in the entry way canopies that it repaired, reducing the cost to the city by about $100,000.

Also in regard to that area of the city, Commissioner Jim Buckingham spoke out about people fishing in the area behind and to the west of the Middle East Conflicts Wall, despite the fact that it is clearly marked with “no fishing” signs.

Police have been instructed to issue tickets to anyone observed fishing in that area, with fines of $150 before the court date and $300 after, said Police Chief Todd Gordon.

“I know the weather’s getting nicer, but people have to understand that area is not open for fishing,” Buckingham said. “It’s been closed down and we don’t plan on reopening it. That’s hallowed ground down there.”

“Anywhere you have fishing, people leave a mess,” Hollenbeck said. “We’ve had people walking around in sloppy clothes hauling their fishing equipment back and forth while there are memorial services going on down there and we can’t have that. We stopped the fishing down there quite some time ago, but some people still do.”

In other action, the council:

Heard from Hollenbeck the Marseilles American Legion is once again doing its veteran banner program. If residents would like to have a family member or loved one honored, the cost is $50 and there is a deadline of April 1 to have them ready for Memorial Day.

The mayor also noted the Illinois Treasurer’s office will be at City Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 11 for questions regarding the state’s I-Cash program.

The council learned the Marseilles Recreation Board will host its annual free Easter Egg Hunt beginning at 11 a.m. on March 24 at Illini State Park.

Also that the Luck of the Irish Vendor Fair will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 16 at the Marseilles Community Center, 850 W. Bluff St., with Dig Doug’s Barbecue handling the food.