Chrisman park pavilion is a worry

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CHRISMAN – The future for a pavilion in Chrisman’s Centennial Park appears bleak.

Commissioner Rodney Wolfe reported during the Monday, April 15, city council meeting a large hole has developed over the building’s restrooms and the interior walls of the restrooms are falling down.

“I’ve boarded them up (the restrooms) and ordered porta-potties,” said Wolfe.

Mayor Dan Owen added one of the building’s roof beams is sagging.

The deteriorating condition of the pavilion is not a surprise as the council has discussed the structure and what to do about it for several months. A decision was delayed while trying to learn the status of a $100,000 state grant awarded to the city several years ago that was never received.

Wolfe said a recent conversation with Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) confirmed neither Governor Pat Quinn nor Governor Bruce Rauner signed the paperwork releasing the money. It is uncertain if the money still exists for Chrisman’s use or if it was returned to the state funds, and Rose is looking into the matter.

There is a sense among council members action may be necessary before the mysterious fate of the grant is resolved. Contractors asked to look at the pavilion have said it cannot be repaired while recommending demolition as the best course, and during the March 18 city meeting representatives of the Chrisman Band Boosters expressed concern about the kitchen area of the structure. The band boosters use the kitchen to serve concessions during events in the park as a fundraising activity.

“We’ve got to make a decision,” said Wolfe, but no definite plan was before the council so no decision was possible.

The council also deferred action on a plan for spending Motor Fuel Tax to oil and chip some city streets. Commissioner Tim Owen recommended waiting until a new city council is seated in May to give a final OK to which streets will get treated over the summer.

Commissioners Tim Owen, Rick Jenness and Jerry Hoult did not run for re-election in the April 2 election so the April 15 meeting was their last one. The council will re-organize during the May 6 meeting when Thad Crispin and Tyler Alexander come to the table for their first terms as commissioners and join Mayor Owen and Wolfe, who were re-elected.

One seat will be empty because only three people ran for the four council member positions. The reorganized council will have to appoint a commissioner to fill the vacancy.

A couple of action items were taken at the April 15 meeting. A contract with Aramark for providing work clothes to city employees was canceled due to unexplained rising costs and unsatisfactory service of the contract, including the use of unacceptable clothing.

The council approved a three-year contract with Cintas to supply work uniforms.

“They (Cintas) uses Carhart brand jeans and better quality shirts that breathe so they are not so uncomfortable,” said city clerk Deena Burns.