Chrisman residents getting into holiday spirit

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CHRISMAN – Something old is new again in Chrisman.

Siblings Anita Marvin and Dan Moore met with the Chrisman City Council Monday, Nov. 4, and talked about holiday decorations in the city park.

Marvin thanked the city for letting them go through some of the vintage decorations that had not been used for a long time and were slated for disposal. One of the items salvaged was a large Frosty the Snowman that occupied the bandstand in the center of the park.

“We are going to revive him. He needs new lights, and we will do it with LEDs,” said Marvin, adding the committee will also need a pole to support the figure.

She said the group found the old Seasons Greetings signs the city previously suspended over state Route 1. The group working with Marvin and Moore do not plan to place the sign over the highway, but it is available should the city choose to do so.

Mayor Dan Owen was uncertain if the poles still align for hanging the sign and doubted the city would make the effort. Marvin said in that case the committee might try to find a way to use the large Christmas sign in the park.

Moore also indicated plans are under way to recreated the giant Christmas cards that previously lined Route 1 as motorist drove through town. He already has commitments for some of the cards made from plywood sheets and permission to place them on the grade school property.

An inquiry about financial assistance from the city was delayed until the Nov. 18 city meeting. Owen explained the topic was not on the agenda for the Nov. 4 meeting so the council could not act on it.

City resident Amber Raymer is currently working toward certification as a master gardener and talked about her desire to create a community garden in Chrisman. She introduced Mary Liz Wright of the Bee Well of Edgar County coalition to discuss community gardens.

“When Edgar County was ranked 100 out of 102 Illinois counties for health the local coalition started to try and change that,” said Wright.

Community gardens, Wright said, have been one of Bee Wells more successful efforts with established gardens in Hume and Kansas and the Paris community garden is currently looking for a new site. She said the coalition received a grant to start community gardens and can offer some assistance in that area along with advice.

“Bee Well provides seeds and equipment,” Wright said. “We want to teach people in growing their own food.”

Raymer explained the biggest stumbling block is finding a location and asked if the city has property available. Her initial thought was using empty ground behind the city library but is not sure there is sufficient light because of the commercial buildings around the location.

“The other option would be Centennial Park but you would have to deal with ball games and the tractor pull,” said Owen. An audience member noted the location is prone to flooding.

City council members liked the idea of converting the empty space behind the library into a community garden. Commissioner Rodney Wolfe said it will be easier to get water to that location than in Centennial Park, and commissioner Tyler Alexander said a community garden can tie into the library’s programming activities.

“Look at the library seriously and see what you can do with it,” said Alexander.

Other items on the agenda were dealt with expeditiously.

A plan to raise water rates by 25 cents in November and again in January got revamped. City clerk Dena Burns said that action requires an ordinance, which was not part of the approval for the rate increase. As a result, there was no rate increase starting in November but commissioners did approve an ordinance authorizing a 25-cent increase starting Jan. 1.

The council approved hiring licensed trapper Rick Tweety to come back to town and deal with an increasing skunk population. Owen announced one of the city employees is working on obtaining the appropriate state licenses and should be able to perform this activity for the city in the future.

Commissioner Thad Crispin reported a proposal for work on Madison and Monroe streets to dig out some humps and grind others came in at $39,000. The city engineer was unable to approve the work since Motor Fuel Tax only covers $25,000 of the project.

A second plan from Ribbe Trucking of Tilton calls for grinding all of the humps for a fee of $1,750, and not to exceed $2,000.

“They can get them down and we can start fresh next year,” said Crispin

The council approved the Ribbe Proposal.

“We’ve got to get the humps out of the roads before they tear up everybody’s car in town,” said Owen.

In other action,

-A $5,295 bid was accepted from Bear Creek Yard Creation to build a garage for the city police car.

-An emergency expenditure of $3,036 was approved for repairing a pump at the sewage treatment plant.

-A proposal from Tingley Roofing to replace the roof on the lift station building for $1,850 was accepted.