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Village Board approves road closures and parade route for the 48th annual Cheese Festival

Welcome Center approves new security camera system

Staff Writer

Board members spoke about children returning to school before beginning their usual business at the most recent Village Board meeting.

“Good luck to all the teachers, administration and the students. Please travel carefully around here. There are a lot of students on foot and bikes,” mentioned Justin Ray. Board members spoke in agreement and also asked that members of the community be on the lookout during the mornings as students go to school.

Treasurer Mike Hilgenberg reported a total of $26,555 in expenditures which were approved.

Comptroller Erica Carter was preparing for auditors. It was noted that about five auditors were coming for a few days hoping to complete the job in less time than they usually do. They said they hoped to be in and out within about three to five days.

Police Chief Michael Goodman informed the board that the department’s new car had come back completely outfitted. They also had the equipment removed from the old car and it will be coming back as usual. A grant was extended through August 31 so that cameras could be installed in all of the cars. The estimated cost was about $10,500 which would be reimbursed from a state grant.

Goodman noted that they are still looking for part and full time officers. They had about 11 applicants, but none of them were really certified to work in law enforcement. He said that the department had been advertising on and was considering advertising with a publication called Blue Line which targets law enforcement. The cost to advertise was around $200-$300, but Goodman felt it was worth the cost to hopefully find an applicant who was already certified. The department is also on a waiting list at the University of Illinois and Macon

County Academies. Goodman said that almost all of the departments in surrounding communities were having issues finding extra help and their numbers were down on personnel.

Stephanie Wierman came in to speak about the upcoming 48th annual Cheese Festival and road closures, representing the Arthur Area Association of Commerce/Cheese Festival Committee. The following closures were requested: Vine Street closed from 2nd entrance into the Welcome Center to Park Street, Walnut Street closed from Progress Street to north of the IGA drive, Hickory Street closed from Progress Street through Park Street, Illinois Street closed east to Ash Street and west to Sarah Bush alley and Progress Street closed to east side of Hickory Street intersection and west to ally behind Frenchie’s Boutique on Saturday 9/4 until noon and from Saturday noon until Monday 9/6 at 5:00 pm closed to west side of Walnut Street intersection. They are also asking that streets be closed at 6:00 pm on Friday, September 3 and reopened at 5:00 pm on Monday, September 6. The Gazebo Parking Lot was also asking to be closed as well. Wierman also informed the board that the free cheese give-aways would be pre-packaged this year as a safety precaution as well as providing as less contact as possible. The festival this year will have cheese eating, curling and carving – but no cheese curd spitting. They are looking to do the ceremonial cutting of the cheese in the middle of Vine and Illinois Streets. There also will be inflatables for the kids and entertainment planning is in the works. The festival is low on volunteers and the parade is also low on entries. The parade route will run west on Progress Street to Vine Street, turn left on Vine and then travel through the downtown area to Logan Street, turn left onto Logan Street and then left on Pine Street and then back on Progres Street.

The Village Board approved Miller Communications to install a security camera system for the Welcome Center. Christy Miller mentioned that the buggy next to the Welcome Center has been damaged several times. The front had been damaged, the headlights had been broken off and the back window had been busted out. The buggy has been popular with tourists in the downtown area and people have enjoyed taking photos in it. Miller noted that the village has had to have the buggy hauled away for repairs and the cost was around $2,000.

A committee was put together to develop ideas on the use for the property that was recently purchased on the west side of the 100 block of South Vine Street. Erica Carter is currently working on some grants and Grant Corum is working on some of the infrastructure. They hope to gather some ideas for the village board as soon as possible. The current committee consists of Christy Miller, Grant Corum, Erica Carter and Rod Randall.

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