Morris City Council Recap: Two new business licenses approved, City opens discussion on housing grant

The Morris City Council voted Monday night to establish a Business and Community Development Department.

MORRIS – The Morris City Council approved two new business licenses on Monday night.

Jessica Edwards will operate Rustic Events Company, an events venue and events planning business located at 650 W. Washington St., and Julie Chatton will operate Julie’s Cheesecake Cafe, a restaurant, located at 511 Liberty St.

A public hearing was held to consider the resolutions for the Community Development Housing Rehabilitation Block Grant.

The City of Morris applied for the grant in August after hosting a public forum during the month’s council meeting.

Connie Buchanan, from the North Central Illinois Council of Governments, returned Monday to discuss the city’s application after the state moved the deadline.

“The state did move the date to January – it was October – so we did have to repeat this and the purpose of the meeting is to obtain views from the public concerning the city’s plan to submit a grant,” Buchanan said.

The City applied for a $650,000 grant application to the Illinois Community Development Block Grant Housing Rehab Program to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for funds to rehabilitate approximately 10 qualifying owner-occupied single-family homes in the project area, which is from Division Street to the west to Price and Grant streets to the east, Railroad and Armstrong streets to the north and Main Street to the south.

Buchanan said the city did file an anti-displacement relocation assistance plan, meaning residents would not be displaced from their homes if they did not use the grant.

Homeowners who receive this grant funding will be required to remain living at that address for a minimum of 5 years in order to prevent the funds from being misused for turnover selling for profit.

Morris Mayor Chris Brown said the city will turn in the application on Jan. 19, and the city “hopefully” will know the results by fall.

After asking if there were any questions, concerns or objections without response, Brown thanked those who attended and closed the public hearing.