La Salle passes for now on Rotary Park, yard waste electric project

Project was planned to be completed in five phases, with a phase one cost of $156,134

Despite a 5-3 vote in favor of the recommendation, the La Salle City Council elected not to take action on the request to increase electricity to Rotary Park and the wastewater pods.

The project was proposed to the council to be completed in five phases with the first phase coming at a cost of $156,143. The five phase total cost for the project was listed to be $687,070.

The purpose of the project was to include increased light capacity for the annual Celebration of Lights, electricity needs for the city’s yard waste plant and future opportunities to expand.

Mayor Jeff Grove spoke in favor of the request during the Finance Committee Meeting on Monday and said the plan for this project was to set up further uses in the future.

“Obviously our long-term goal is to potentially get some power (at the yard waste drop off),” Grove said. “We were hoping there was something there already at the cemetery, but there’s nothing at the cemetery that we can get off of, even a small service.”

The first phase of the proposed project would have provided power down the Rotary Park hill, the wastewater plant and given the city an increased capacity for its annual Christmas lights celebration.

“It helps at Christmas but No. 2 is it gives us a chance to go north,” Grove said.

The city has received an additional 45 Christmas lights displays that will either require a creative solution or won’t be able to be lit this winter. The new addition also would have helped create a continual loop for the displays with a different exit, so visitors wouldn’t have to fight traffic.

On top of the initial costs for the project, an additional fee for Ameren services would also have been required if it had been passed. This cost was estimated to be in the range of $50,000 but no official numbers had been returned to the city as of Monday.

Due to the season timing, the city was able to secure one bid for the project, creating the need for a super majority for approval. Alderman Tom Ptak asked if the city needed to field another bid before voting for approval.

“We could if we needed to,” Grove said. “I just don’t know now, this late in the game, if we can get another with the timeframe that we are facing.”

Alderman Diz Demes made the motion to approve the first phase of the project with the additional Ameren cost not to exceed $50,000 that was seconded by Alderman Jerry Reynolds.

City Attorney Jim McPhedran said during the meeting for the super majority approval, six aldermen would be required to vote in favor.

Aldermen Demes, Reynolds, Doc Lavieri, Joe Jeppson and T. Boo Herndon voted in favor of the project, while aldermen Jim Bacidore, Tom Ptak and Jordan Crane voted against.

Ptak said during his vote he would be in favor of installing electricity at the location in the future but voted against the project because of the single bid and the current costs of construction projects.

While no action was taken during Monday’s meeting the proposal could possibly be revisited with additional information at a later time.

Jayce Eustice

Covering local government, breaking news and whatever is thrown at me for the La Salle News Tribune