WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Monmouth

Rich Egger

A couple projects are moving ahead as the Maple City works to breathe new life into its downtown.

mosaiko.gr

Rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and hip hop all have their roots in the blues. Yet it seems as though the blues does not get its due. That will change – at least for a day – in Monmouth.

The Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival begins Saturday afternoon at the Rivoli Theatre. The doors open at 2:00 and the music begins at 2:30. Ticket information can be found here.

Monmouth will receive $10,000 from the inaugural Illinois Broadband Innovation Fund. The state received 113 applications for the grant program. Just 14 winners were selected.

Monmouth Director of Community Development Paul Schuytema said his city was the only municipality chosen.

“That’s pretty exciting, and to be a municipality that’s not like Chicago but a little bitty town of 9,400 people in the cornfields, it’s a great honor,” Schuytema said. “We’re looking forward to delivering some good work and sharing it.”

Monmouth Lifts Ban on Video Gambling

Jun 18, 2012

Monmouth allowed the use of video gaming for “amusement purposes” only. That did not include gambling although the ordinance was difficult to enforce.

The discussion was prompted by changes to state law that will allow video gaming this year. The proceeds will help pay for capital improvements.

City Administrator Eric Hanson says the city council discussed keeping the ban in place.

Monmouth and Firefighters Ratify Contract

May 24, 2012

Monmouth's city council and the firefighters union each ratified the three-year contract by a unanimous vote.

Firefighters will receive a 2.5% pay raise each year of the deal.

The city and the union each wanted similar changes in the time-off policies. The city wanted to reduce overtime. The union wanted to reduce the likelihood firefighters would be called in on their days off.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the major change was to vacation policy.

Developer Plans $2 Million Project in Monmouth

May 9, 2012

Six buildings on the southeast corner of Monmouth's town square will receive a $2 million facelift.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa developer Frantz-Hobart will turn the buildings into condominiums and retail space.

City Administrator Eric Hanson calls it “the biggest development project” in the downtown area in decades. He says it advances the city's vision for the downtown area.

Enterprise Zones in Illinois Near End

May 1, 2012

The legislation that established Enterprise Zones in Illinois was passed in the mid-1980s. Many are nearly at the end of their 30 year lifespan.

Enterprise zones abate the property taxes on improvements for up to 10 years. The zones also offer a state sales tax exemption on building materials that are purchased in the state and are used in an enterprise zone.

Monmouth Will Replace Troublesome Water Main

Apr 12, 2012

Monmouth will disrupt traffic downtown for about six weeks while it  replaces an old water main.

The work will take place near the southeast corner of the town square. It will involve two-and-a-half blocks of blocks of South First Street and a block of First Avenue.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the city has repaired leaks in the main many times. He said the renovations of several nearby buildings prompted the project.

After months of study, the Spurgeons building on South Main Street in Monmouth was selected to house artist studios and a retail shop to sell their work.

The choice was made by city representatives and members of ArtSpace, which is a non-profit arts development and consulting organization from Minneapolis.

The Spurgeons building has a limestone front and was built in 1940.

Monmouth Prepares for Higher Energy Costs

Mar 19, 2012

Monmouth residents often see a bright flare in the north part of town. It's a burner that keeps excess methane from building up at the city's waste water pre-treatment facility.  Someday, it might produce electricity.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the 15 year-old burner had to be replaced recently. He said the city has installed one that could be part of an energy-generating system.

Survey Goal is to Boost Economic Activity

Mar 12, 2012

Monmouth is a partner in a new survey that will provide a snapshot of the job skills of the workforce in western Illinois-and the the skills they might need.

Community Development Director Paul Schuytema said the survey has two goals. One is to provide a detailed picture of the area in light of the 2010 census data. He said any large firm looking at locating in the area will be concerned with the regional workforce instead of just that in one city. He said the second goal is to discover skill sets that are lacking in the region.

Policy Will Benefit City Coffers

Mar 9, 2012

Interest rates of under one percent convinced Monmouth's city council to adopt a formal investment policy.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the did not have a formal investment policy and put all its money into CDs.

In The Tri States

Mar 2, 2012

A look back at the top stories and features from the Tri States Public Radio news department from February 2012. 

During the month, Caterpillar ruled out Galesburg or any other site in Illinois for a plant being relocated from Japan. The company eventually chose to build in Georgia.

Monmouth hired a new police chief, a northeast Missouri man was convicted of murder, and the Macomb School District cut ties with a former teacher accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. 

Monmouth wants to spur economic development in the downtown. Public meetings have shown residents would like to see a vigorous arts community develop downtown.

Community Development Director Paul Schuytema said the city will rehabilitate a building downtown into an art studio and gallery. The new project will create foot traffic and new business opportunities. He said the original plan was to offer artists studio and gallery space and apartments. A study showed that was not economically feasible.

Tower Deal Appeals to City and Verizon

Feb 9, 2012

Monmouth and Verizon have agreed, in principle, on a lease for an antenna on top of the city's water tower.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said Verizon will get more than just the antenna space.

He said, “We were able to negotiate an above-market rate for that space on the tower because they wanted to put in the ancillary building.”

Hanson said the building will house equipment.  It will be built on city property nearby.

Monmouth Hires New Chief

Feb 7, 2012
Courtesy WNIJ

Monmouth has hired a new police chief. He is Bill Feithen. Feithen has been with the DeKalb Police Department for 37 years. He served as the city's police chief for the last 11 years.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said Feithen distinguished himself during the evauations.

He said, “We had three chiefs of police that did an assessment of all the top candidates and provided a recommendation to us. And Chief Feithen was the unanimous recommendation by his peers as the right person to move our department forward.”

Monmouth Narrows Search for New Chief

Jan 19, 2012

The finalists for the Monmouth police chief will be put through their paces this weekend.

City administrator Eric Hanson said the field of over 30 original applicants has been reduced to five. The Illinois Chiefs of Police will conduct assessments of the five.

He said, “Everything from how they would manage personnel to media to specific police incidents that they might have to handle. So it's a gamut of exercises that they put them through to gauge their knowledge and skill set.”

The assessment will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in Monmouth.

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