DANVILLE — At the first meeting Tuesday night where the public and aldermen have a chance to discuss the proposed dam removals prior to a final city council vote, three residents spoke and city officials handed out summer/fall photos of the dams and offered aldermen the chance to see the dams in person.
Members of the city council’s Public Works Committee heard from three residents about the dams.
In their comments before the committee, Matthew Dougherty said, “We were taught to respect the river,” and Jim King said, “The wrong decision will impact the ecosystem forever.”
Ted Caudill said the Ellsworth Park Dam was the safest place to take children to fish with the low water.
King favors leaving the dams intact or seeing if there could be rock fronts on them.
Ward 7 Alderman Steve Foster asked about a cost estimate for the city to wrap the eroding shoreline and make a rockfill ramp.
Public Works Director Doug Ahrens said the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ estimate for the rock ramp spillway is about $2.7 million. That cost is higher than removal.
“We are not capable of dam removal or placing material,” Ahrens said about city employees.
The IDNR has allocated funding — more than $2 million — for the removal of the Ellsworth Park Dam and partial removal of the Danville Dam. The city council’s Public Works Committee already voted against partially removing the Danville Dam behind the Public Safety Building.
Some aldermen believe other alternatives, such as a rock ramp spillway, would be better for local fishing.
The committee was split on recommending full removal of the Ellsworth Park Dam on the North Folk Vermilion River.
There will be a public hearing again at Dec. 3’s city council meeting. A vote by the city council is expected on Dec. 17.
IDNR representatives are expected to attend the Dec. 3 and Dec. 17 city council meetings.
In other business Tuesday, committee members:
n Learned from Mayor Scott Eisenhauer that the Danville Humane Society again has a contract proposal to continue animal control operations with the city. Eisenhauer said the humane society has a contract committee to whom Eisenhauer has sent back proposed contract language changes.
Negotiations continue on whether they can come to a contract agreement, Eisenhauer said.
Humane society director Glen Laird was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
n Learned the Vermilion County Probation Department will no longer have a work program to help the city mow vacant lots. Ahrens said the city will be looking to hire additional personnel.
“We are hoping to obtain the bus from the county and keep a community service program going,” Ahrens said.
n Agreed to move several budget amendments relating to legal services for arbitration on the police officers and other contracts and several employee training and other expenses, on to the city council next week for action.
n Recommended amending Chapter 159 of city codes pertaining to the enterprise zone and authorizing a time extension for the enterprise zone to 2016.
n Learned the Fairchild Overpass is still on schedule for substantial completion in May 2014.
Urban Services Director David Schnelle said there have been some sanitary sewer issues on Bowman Avenue that must be repaired and winter weather still will determine how much concrete and other work is completed this year.
n Learned the city is applying for a $75,000 grant through the state to complete about 11 more dilapidated structure demolitions in the city.
n Learned the fire divisions’ truck committee has submitted requests for proposals for two new fire trucks to Eisenhauer for review. Eisenhauer said the requests will be sent to providers of fire equipment for purchase proposals to then come to aldermen for action. The city is looking at lease options for the approximately $1.2 million in estimated truck costs needed to replace older fire trucks.
n Learned from Eisenhauer that he’s again looking at reorganizing the police division after the retirement this week of Deputy Director of Police Doug Miller.
Eisenhauer said they’re not rushing to replace Miller, but have moved up a sergeant from investigations in the meantime.