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home : local news : local news May 25, 2016

10/8/2013 3:24:00 PM
Palestine business owners voice concerns over downtown 'streetscape' proposals
Also: Gordon Jct. store owner asks about annexation.
Daily News

Main Street business owners in Palestine were out in force last night to voice their concerns over some aspects of the proposed streetscape project in the village.

Palestine won the grant for the project some time ago, and officials have been working to develop plans for the project ever since.

The current plans for the project include a railing along Main Street between the sidewalk and the parking area. The railing would restrict motorists who park along Main from direct access to the sidewalk, forcing them to walk in the street for up to half the block before they can get to the sidewalk. Also, it might, in some cases, affect the awnings which most buildings have along Main Street over the sidewalk.

Trustees at the meeting said they appreciate their concerns and agree with them, including that they have their own "laundry list" of problems with the plans, but added there is nothing they can do about any of it until they meet directly with the engineers and architects on the project. Such a meeting is to happen during October but a date, time or place is yet to be set.

The store owners made it clear they would also like to have their say at that meeting, and were assured by the mayor and the trustees that the meeting would be advertised and open to the public.

The trustees are also continuing to work with George Murphy to try to annex his convenience store located at Gordon Junction into the village. Murphy approached the board to annex his store into the village so the tax dollars the store generates can benefit Palestine schools and the community.

The problem is that to be annexed, the village must annex contiguous properties all the way out to meet Murphy's. The board is looking to the costs and legalities of the annexation and also whether or not they can annex property on the south side of Route 33 and then cross the highway to meet Murphy's.

Murphy is also asking that if the village annexes him, that he be granted a license to sell beer at his store. Palestine currently does not have an available license and one would have to be established to meet his request.

"I'm not trying to force anyone's hand on this," Murphy said. "There are tax dollars out there to be had. It would benefit you and it would benefit me."

In other business, the village got a clean bill of financial health from Kemper CPA. The group recently completed an audit of the village books and found no irregularities and declared them in good order.

The village is set hours for trick-or-treating in the village for Thursday, Oct. 31, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at residences with their lights on.

Palestine Mayor Pat Schofield reminded residents that the village-wide fall cleanup is scheduled for Oct. 30 for all paid-up customers of Republic. Palestine Chief of Police Jeff Besing added residents may not place items out for pick-up until the night before.

In his police report, Besing said he has recently acquired two new bulletproof vests for the village using a grant program and is working on grants for other new equipment such as portable defibrillators for both squad cars. He also noted a recent upswing in vehicle break-ins and reminded residents to lock their cars at night and take their valuables inside their homes.

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