The Effingham City Council rejected a resolution that would rezone the northern part of the Heartland Human Services parking lot, located along N. Fourth Street, to allow the construction of a new memory care facility. The new facility would operate as a non-profit and would accommodate 8-12 residents. Proceeds generated by the new services would be put back into the Heartland care system. A public hearing on the resolution was held by the City Plan Commission on January 12th.
Dixie Hartke, a resident living in the neighborhood just north of the parking lot, addressed the City Council about the proximity of the new facility to several homes located on Santa Barbara Drive. Hartke was concerned that the construction of the memory care facility would inhibit the “neighbor feel” and suggested that the new building be constructed on the south side of the lot, instead of the north. Harkte requested that the City Council consider the resident’s desire to keep the area open for social gatherings.
Mayor Jeff Bloemker, who is also the Executive Director at Heartland Human Services, supported the resolution and stated that the north side of the parking lot was the most economic location for the new facility. Mayor Bloemker suggested that he understood the resident’s concerns, but believed that the property should used to its highest potential by allowing the construction on the north side of the lot. Moreover, relocating the structure would impact the design and raise costs for its construction.
Another concern, voiced by Commissioner Kevin Willis, was that the new facility’s services would provide competition for similar businesses in the area. The resolution was ultimately rejected by the council by a three to two vote. Mayor Bloemker and Commissioner Willis voted yea and Commissioners Althoff, Gillenwater, and Esker voted nay.
The City Council also approved a resolution that grants the property owner of 801 S. Oak Street, Brian G. Davis, a special use permit for a recycling facility. The property is leased to a Mark and Mary Anders who use it as storage for recyclable material before shipping it out to be processed. The approval of the resolution would require Anders to comply with certain conditions set by the City Plan Commission. The conditions including a cleanup of the property as numerous bales of cardboard and plastic were out in the open after being removed during a fire and the construction of a 10-foot, solid fence to prevent the property from being an eyesore. Compliance will monitored by city officials. The Resolution passed unanimously.
The City Council also approved a resolution accepting a bid proposal from Hoerr Construction to perform sewer rehabilitation for the price of $258,743. The project will reline and repair sanitary sewers and is still under the budget allocated for such improvements.
The Council also discussed a project that would reconstruct Pike Avenue, a road that services Beck’s Hybrids. The project has not yet been approved, but city officials have been seeking grants to offset the cost. The City would supply funds up to $600,000 for the project, most of which have already been spent. The rest would be covered by Beck’s Hybrids. The City will consider bids beginning on Tuesday, January 26.
Also set for that date is a bid letting for a project that would improve the city’s water main along Luther Drive.