EFFINGHAM – Level crossings were the topic as members of Effingham City Council continued to discuss allowing golf carts in the town.
Director of Public Works Jeremy Heuerman told a council meeting last week that his office had contacted the Illinois Department of Transportation about golf cart crossing opportunities in the city.
“We reached out to IDOT regarding the crossing points we identified last time. We identified 10 of them that would be good places to cross state highways throughout the city,” Heuerman said “They had a safety committee that looked at that and unfortunately they didn’t approve any of them as safe to cross with golf carts because of the number of accidents over the last three years and the number of traffic and the number of semi-traffic.”
He said that even though IDOT made this decision, it did not prevent golf carts from crossing state highways.
“We can put these (crossing places) in the order as a level crossing and you are still allowed to cross national highways if you wish. They (IDOT) strongly discourage it because of the security aspects,” Heuerman said. “They advised us to reduce the number of crossings if we decide to go ahead.”
Heuerman said the reason he suggested the 10 golf cart crossings was to allow more people access to downtown, a park or a point of interest.
“If you decide they can’t cross anywhere (on national highways), they could stay in their subdivisions,” he said. “There are still options that the board can approve.”
“I think whatever we do, it’s not going to be perfect,” Mayor Mike Schutzbach said. “Not all members of the community will be able to travel everywhere in the city. Some may go further than others.
He said a majority of the community should be able to use the roads.
“Are we scrapping everything? Are we reevaluating it? And there are concerns that they would have on collector streets,” Schutzbach said. “Will we be able to maneuver a map that allows golf carts to be used in the community and away from major collector streets? We are open to discussion.
Schutzbach said collector streets would be defined as streets similar to Willow, Temple and Evergreen.
City administrator Steve Miller said one possibility would be to reduce the number of crossings and come up with a map where golf carts are allowed.
“I don’t like the idea of golf carts on Temple and Willow, especially at 7 or 8:30 in the morning and at 4:30 and 5:30 at night, they’re just busy. There are times when I don’t ride my bike because of traffic and then throwing golf carts into the mix bothers me,” Commissioner Hank Stephens said.
“As I’ve said throughout, I’m conceptually okay with that. We’re just not very well set up for that in this community with two railroads going through and state highways going through the freeway,” said Stephens said “If you can limit these (golf cars) to neighborhoods, that’s fine with me.”
Heuerman said currently the plan would be to hand out a map when a golf cart permit is issued and give designated places where they are allowed to cross.
However, Commissioner Merv Gillenwater questions whether golf cart operators would follow the rules and regulations.
“I am very concerned about this,” Commissioner Merv Gillenwater said. “I know it will pass, but I am very worried about it.”
“My preference is to look at some of the collector streets, post a map, and then move forward to see if we can get it approved,” Schutzbach said.
In other areas, the council discussed passing a joint ordinance that would alter the boundaries of the City of Effingham/County of Effingham Enterprise Zone. The joint ordinance is expected to be passed by Effingham City Council, Effingham County Council and the Village of Teutopolis.
If approved by the three municipalities, it would add 5.25 acres (four property parcels) to the business zone after an application was made by EL Holdings LLC, which wants to construct a commercial building of 6,300 square feet, making improvements to existing buildings. and improving infrastructure on the four plots of land, according to Effingham Economic Development Manager Todd Hull. The property is located on North Third Street, on the east side of US Route 45.
Hull said the plan was presented to the Enterprise Zone Board, which unanimously approved the boundary change following an unopposed public hearing.
The addresses for the four parcels are 900 North Third Street, 1000 North Third Street, 1008 North Third, and 1010 North Third.
“If you’re familiar with 900 North over the past two years, we’ve upgraded this property which is home to Express Appointment, Imagine This!, Grunloh Building and Edward Jones,” said Ed Grunloh of Grunloh Building Inc. of Effingham.
The council already approved the construction of the commercial building in November. Grunloh said he built a similar building for Dr. Rick Workman in Springfield, Missouri.
Once the joint ordinance is approved by the city, county, and village of Teutopolis, it would be forwarded to the state of Illinois for final approval.
Council also discussed granting a resolution to close certain city streets in downtown Effingham at the request of Village Wine for Effingham Cruise Night to be held on September 10 and discussed a resolution authorizing Civil Design Inc. engineering services for $69,935 for the reconstruction of Merchant Street. project (from Eden Drive to Evergreen Avenue).
Meanwhile, board members passed a resolution accepting a proposal for the 2022 Oil and Chips Project with Larry Heuerman Trucking in the amount of $150,750 and passed a separate proposal for the replacement project of the Second Street and Jefferson Street roadway with Feutz Contractors in the amount of $802,010.85.
The council authorized a retainer with the lawyers of Napoli Shkoinik PPLC to bring legal proceedings against water contamination caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyls and related substances (PFAS / PFOA) and 1,4 dioxane and others emerging hazardous contaminants. The city is currently not experiencing any water contamination, however, the law firm would be mandated should such a contamination incident occur.
A change order has been approved in the amount of $14,000 by the council for additional labor and materials required to line the Rickleman Standpipe water storage tank.
In other actions, the council:
• Passed a resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement between the city and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 209 for recruits, patrolmen, corporals and sergeants of the Effingham Police Department and a separate agreement for carriers in effect from May 1 to April 30, 2025.
• Adopted a resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement between the City and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 26 for unionized personnel employed in the City’s public works departments in effect from May 1 to April 30, 2025.
• Passed a resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement between the Town and Effingham Firefighters Association Local 3084 effective May 1 to April 30, 2025.
• Granting of a special use permit to Polygone Recycling LLC for a recycling center to be located in the light industrial and non-urban district M-1. Permit is granted only to Polygone Recycling LLC, Kirk Hartke and/or Emily Hartke and is non-transferable to future owners for recycling Type 2 and Type 5 plastic for shredding. The permit does not allow the business to be open to the general public and any future expansion would require a new special use permit.
• Adopted a resolution authorizing the signing of an engineering services agreement with Milano and Grunloh Engineers LLC in the amount of $15,000 for the Rollin Hills Subdivision Phase II road improvement project.
• Adopted a resolution authorizing the renewal of a one-year contract between the city and DDI Media from September 1 to August 31, 2023, in the amount of $13,800 for two tourist signs, one in Brazil, Indiana, and another in Warrenton, Missouri.
• Passing of a resolution authorizing the execution of the South Central Industrial Tax Increase Financing Redevelopment Agreement with Fritz Krampe Enterprises LLC Lisa Development, which is interested in purchasing property in the park. activities with plans to build a 50,000 square foot warehouse.
• Adopted a resolution accepting a proposal from Effingham Asphalt in the amount of $700,296.45 for the Rollin Hills Subdivision Street Phase II project.
• Approved a Certificate of Completion and Bond Release for the 2022 Crack and Seal program run by CASCO in the amount of $39,300.