Thursday, April 29, 2010
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City briefs: 'Lawnmower Run,' food drive, gaming machines and more 

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[April 29, 2010]  Tuesday evening Vienna Perdue was back in front of the council to give updates on the work she has done to get her "Lawnmower Run" approved by the council. 

She began by saying that she had submitted copies of the group's insurance policy to the city clerk, showing that she had added bodily injury liability insurance to the plan, per the request of the council. 

In addition, in the past week she had received help from street superintendent Tracy Jackson, city engineer Mark Mathon and input from the Lincoln Police Department on how the route for the run might be amended and classified as a "rolling parade" 

The original plan was for the group on lawn mowers to traverse city streets from Rumors to the Glass House, the OK Tavern, Mr. Lucky'ss, the Alley-Bi and finally Chad's Blind.   

That original plan included traveling along Pulaski Street, Oklahoma, McLean, Peoria, Chicago and crossing Fifth Street to get to Chad's Blind. 

Tuesday night Perdue asked Jackson to explain the changes that have been made to the original plan. 

Jackson said that first of all, he'd removed the OK Tavern from the route. He said that the new route he had come up with would start at the Logan County Food Pantry, where the group would have to cross Logan Street for the first of three separate times. 

From the food pantry the group will take Pekin to Hamilton for a stop at the Glass House, proceed on Hamilton to Tremont and then Chicago Street for a stop at Mr. Lucky'ss, and continue on Chicago to Pulaski to the Alley-Bi Saloon. From the Alley-Bi the group will continue on Pulaski, crossing Logan Street again, and then take Kankakee to Sixth and Sixth to Chad's Blind. When they leave Chad's, they will backtrack up Sixth to Kankakee and then on to the food pantry. 

The plan now is to keep the group together and close streets one block at a time. Barricades will be placed at the end of each street, and it will be the group's responsibility to close the streets as they travel the route. Perdue said they were going to have lead and trailing trucks and that doing the barricades would be no problem. 

Mathon said that the city is now waiting to hear from the Illinois Department of Transportation on what they will require from the city so that the group can cross Logan. 

Because Logan Street is part of Business Loop 55, it is under state jurisdiction.  

Mathon said that just as the city has to do a resolution regarding the closing of Feldman Drive, which is a state frontage road, when Lincoln College has their Run, Ramble and Roll, the city will have to do something similar for the group to cross Logan. 

Mathon said that Logan won't be closed, but it will be crossed, so the state needs to inform the city of what they will require. 

Acting police Chief Michael Geriets said that if the state required a squad car at the crossing of Logan, he felt like that could be done.   

He also wants the group to congregate at the end of each block and cross all at the same time.  He said that would be safer and more efficient than having leaders crossing early and slower mowers lagging behind. 

Alderman Jeff Hoinacki said that Jackson and Geriets had worked on this, and he felt like they had come up with a good working compromise for the Lawnmower Run. 

Alderwoman Marty Neitzel examined the insurance documents that Perdue had provided, noting there was $1,000,000 coverage on bodily injury and saying that should be sufficient. 

Finally city attorney Bill Bates said that he too was becoming much more comfortable with the idea. He cited that designating the event as a rolling parade and closing the streets one block at a time offered a solution to many of his concerns.  

The city has a motion on the table currently, and providing Mathon hears from IDOT this week, it will come to a vote on Monday night. 

If approved, the event is slated for May 15. 

Another food drive in May 

Rebecca Van Nydeggen, the director of the local Salvation Army and a member of the Senior Task Force in Logan County, came before the council to advise them of a monthlong food drive for all of Logan County that will take place throughout May. 

She said there are six food pantries in the county, four of which are located within Lincoln city limits. With summer coming on and the subsequent dismissal of school, pantries are going to be in great need. 

She talked about the benefit of the food pantries to seniors and to multigenerational households and the need for those pantries to be fully stocked. 

She said the food drive would include collection points at a variety of businesses throughout the county and that there would be no door-to-door solicitations. 

Van Nydeggen said she would soon be issuing press releases about the monthlong event. 

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Al Eckhoff discusses video gaming license 

Al Eckhoff came before the council as a board member of Hartley Amusements of Peoria to talk about the new video gaming laws and the effect they are going to have on local businesses as well as the city. 

Under the new Illinois law, video gaming machines currently being operated in several locations in the city are going to become illegal. The machines will have to be removed from the establishments and replaced with state-approved units. 

Eckhoff said the current plan includes mandating that all those machines be taken out by the end of July. However, new machines are not slated to be available until later in the summer. 

Eckhoff said the new law was going to be good for the businesses and the city in that these new machines would bring in greater revenues. He estimated that currently the city earns about $1,000 annually from every five machines. Under the new law, those earnings are estimated to go up to as much as $4,000 for every five machines. 

However, Eckhoff said there is a concern for the business owners in their licensing of the machines. Currently each business that offers video gaming has to purchase a license from the city. Those licenses renew each year in May. 

He said that if the state does follow through with current plans, there will be possibly a three-month period when businesses have no machines at all; thus, they won't be earning anything. 


Eckhoff said he would like for the city to consider prorating the license fees for the period of time that there will be no video gaming machines in the city of Lincoln. 

He said there is legislation before the state asking that the old machines be allowed to remain in operation until new ones are available. If that bill passes, then his current request would be a moot point. 

Based on that legislation, Eckhoff said he wasn't asking the city to take any action now. He just wanted to put this out to them so they can be thinking about it. 

He added that if the legislation does not pass, and the machines are removed in July, he will be back before the council then with an action request.   

Light agenda for next week 

After all the guest speakers had concluded, the council made quick work of going around the room and putting together a list of agenda items for Monday's voting session. Currently the main items that will come up for vote are the budget resolution for the 2010-11 fiscal year and the Lawnmower Run. 

A petition has been submitted by the Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society for a handicap-accessible ramp to be placed midway in the block of Chicago Street where their storefront is. It was discussed at length, as ramps are not generally put in midblock, and there are ramps at each end of the block. 

The solution may be to add a handicap parking space on that side of the street, near one of the existing ramps. However, there are space issues because there is parallel parking on that side of the street. 

Mathon and Jackson are to look into this further and see if there is a workable solution. The item was added to the agenda, but it may not come to vote, depending on what they report back to the council. 

Evening ends with an executive session 

At the end of the evening, the mayor said he wanted to call a short executive session.  Alderwoman Melody Anderson made the motion that the council go into executive session to discuss the appointment of a city official. The motion was approved 9-0. 

Guests and press were dismissed, as there would be no actions taken after the session.


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