Mt. Vernon Register-News

April 8, 2014

City receives park grant

The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — The city has received $400,000 for improvements to Lincoln Park.

“It’s an exciting announcement,” said Mayor Mary Jane Chesley. “Phase I at Lincoln Park includes softball field, tennis courts, restrooms and a hiking trail.”

The grant is part of $16.5 million awarded on Saturday, part of the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

According to City Manager Ron Neibert, the grant is a matching grant, but the total cost of the project is $1.6 million.

‘The city will be putting in $1.2 million,” Neibert explained. “I believe that was one of the strengths of our grant application. As a community, we are providing more than just the matching funds required for the project.”

Neibert said $400,000 is available in the current fiscal year for the city’s matching portion — additional funds from the Quality of Life funds will be used to complete the phased project.

The OSLAD program began in 1986 and, not including the recent projects, has provided about $377.8 million for park projects throughout the state. The program is funded through the Real Estate Transfer Tax, which is part of every property sale in Illinois.

“It isn’t easy to apply for a grant,” Chesley said. “That’s why not every city does it. A lot of hard work and organization and support are needed.”

Chesley’s announcement came during Monday’s city council meeting in which the city also approved a three year contract with Republic Waste to provide trash pickup, year-round landscape waste removal and bi-weekly community-wide curbside recycling. The cost of the contract will be $16.49 per month.

“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to discuss and vote on recycling,” said City Councilman Dennis McEnaney. “Four years ago we started discussing the possiblity ... Now we have an organization willing to bid and we’re able to provide this service. ... I consider this another positive defining moment for Mt. Vernon.

In other business the council:

n Approved a bid of $19,415 from Clean Uniforms for uniform service for the city employees;

n Approved re-zoning property at 1714 North St., for Jefferson County Habitat for Humanity from R-3 to I-1;

n Approved ceding private activity bonding authority to Southeastern Illinois Economic Development Administration;

n Vacated an alley behind the McDonald’s restaurant on Main Street;

n Approved an agreement with Mary Mullinax for the park concession stand;

n Reclassified certain public utility accounts for accounting purposes;

n Proclaimed the week of April 13 as Telecommunicator’s Week; and

n Approved the re-appointment of Sherry Meadows to the Mt. Vernon City Housing Authority Board.