Orr stepped into the director position
on Feb. 1, right on the heels of the past director, Jeff Mayfield.
Orr said he appreciated being able to do this and that he could pick
right up on all the business projects that are in process.
Mayfield filled the position on a
part-time basis for one year following a seven-month gap after Mark
Smith left. Orr said, "I assure you after just seven days, this is a
lot more than a part-time job."
Orr shared some of his vision for
creating economic prosperity for Lincoln and Logan County. First, he
would like to have an agreed-upon permanent structure. He believes
the new Economic Development Partnership, which the task force
developed, is a good one to adopt.
At the core of the structure is the
independent not-for-profit foundation. It is fortunate that Mark
Smith foresaw the direction that economic development might take in
the future and set the foundation up. It sat idle for two years but
was there and ready to be put to use now.
As an independent organization it is no
longer part of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce.
As a 501c3, the partnership can accept
private tax-deductible donations. This will be a great opportunity
that the group will try to take advantage of that was not available
under the former structure.
The new partnership structure also
calls for a director. Orr thinks that whether it is he or someone
else in the future, the director needs to be an established part of
The partnership board is formed by two
representatives from each of the major contributors -- city, county
and chamber -- as well as representatives from the utilities. Mayor
Beth Davis and Alderman Steve Fuhrer represent Lincoln.
Orr said that it is a benefit too if
each of the funding parties would contribute their portion of
financing in one lump sum, up-front, annually.
As soon as the partnership begins
meeting, "We'll form task forces and committees," Orr said. "I
believe in a whole team approach." At their first meeting, on Feb.
23, the focus will be on review and amending the by-laws, he said.
[See previous LDN articles: "Smooth
transition for EDC," with new and old organization flow charts
and the Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce Economic Development
Committee position statement; and "New
economic development partnership director announced"]
[to top of second column in this
After Orr spoke, the council moved on
to other business.
A concern for safety and building
preservation in one of the fire department's truck bays was raised a
couple of weeks ago. It was reported that the floor was developing
stress cracks and a wall was crumbling. It is not a bay with
basement below it, but a newer, heavier truck is being parked there
and it was unknown just what lay beneath the flooring.
An inspection by an
engineer from Randolph and Associates, with City Engineer Mark
Mathon and Fire Chief Bucky Washam in attendance, revealed worries
to be less than first thought. There was a leak in the ceiling that
has caused the wall crumbling.
It is believed that
the truck weight caused the settlement of the floor and stress
cracks. Water from washing the truck has been flowing into the
cracks and substrate, contributing to the problem.
It was recommended to
excavate, lay 6 inches of filler and 8 inches of concrete. The
estimate for the engineering company to do this was $4,000 to
with Streets Superintendent Tracy Jackson, the city will probably do
the work themselves at a much lower cost.
A new drain will also
help relieve the problem and can be added for about $1,500.
Alderman Steve Fuhrer
announced that plans are under way to improve the intersection at
Lincoln Parkway and Fifth Street in the spring. The traffic signals
will be modernized, using video detection sensors like the ones
installed at Kickapoo and Keokuk streets. The sensors help regulate
the flow of traffic and initiate light changes when traffic is
waiting from one direction but no traffic is present in the other
There will also be a
turn lane added on Fifth Street turning south onto Lincoln Parkway.
In another traffic
signal project, ESCA Consulting of Urbana has been contacted about
doing the traffic counts and submitting a needs study in
coordination with IDOT at the Goody's plaza. The costs will be
$4,900. This fee was included in the $155,000 estimate for the
Still ahead, downtown streets and walk
access are still slated for an overlay this spring. Attention will
be given to providing better access for disabled people.