Pana Council Cancels Lake Campground – The Breeze-Courier

Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Screenwriter

(PANA) — During its Monday evening meeting in the council chamber of Pana City Hall, the Pana City Council reversed its course from two weeks ago and voted 7-0 to suspend a campground near the Pana Lake dam.

Council had voted at its last meeting to seek an OSLAD (Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development) grant for a 45-site campground for trailers and RVs, including concrete pads, restrooms and a playground. The grant would have paid $600,000 of the $1.5 million project. The grant application should have been submitted on September 30, next Friday.

Ahead of Monday night’s vote, members heard from Ben Spreen of Benton and Associates on a revised plan that halved the number of campsites and added more tent campsites after some opposition to the plan. However, the price was only reduced by around $300,000 to $1.2 million. The reduced plan was approved by the lake committee at a meeting on Friday 23rd September.

Despite the cut, there still seemed to be opposition to the plan with several members of the public on Monday night ready to comment. City engineer Greg Holthaus urged council to simply defer the grant application because there were still too many details to iron out. He suggested waiting to apply for the grant until the 2023 grant cycle.

Alderman Ray “Butch” Hocq asked if there would be an OSLAD grant available next year. Spreen said he couldn’t guarantee it, but the State of Illinois had offered it in previous years. The amount of each individual grant may also fluctuate. Holthaus also raised questions about the stability of the ground where the campground was going to be positioned and he suggested digging deeper into its composition.

Pana Mayor Nathan Pastor said postponing the vote might be a good idea, saying, “We (the city) will be much better prepared in a year” to submit a grant application.

In other business, Council voted to approve a resolution to reach an agreement with the Town of Taylorville for the replacement of the Lincoln Prairie Bike Path Bridge just south of

Taylorville. Pana will apply for an Illinois Transportation Improvement Program (ITEP) grant to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The grant would cover the estimated $1.2 million in replacement costs. The grant would cover 80 or 90% of the cost of the project, with Pana and Taylorville to cover the rest of the cost. The resolution caps each city’s amount at $120,000 each.

Holthaus said Pana’s share would come from a Build Illinois grant the city received. They claim to owe the city two further installments of $64,000 each. He also reminded the Council that if the offers were higher than the expected costs, they could reject the offer.

The resolution passed unanimously, 7-0.

Members also passed a resolution to proceed with a second Tax Increase Financing (TIF) district on the east side of Pana, primarily taking properties around Pana Lake. Moran Economic Development will carry out the study and create the TIF District. The cost must not exceed $20,000.

With a vote of settling, a liquor license was approved for the Roasted Bean, LLC, for its location at 110 N. Poplar St., the site of a former laundromat near the intersection of Washington and Poplar Sts.

Project owner/developer Billy Brand told the Council that his company sells “coffee by day and wine by night.” He described it as a “premium operation” and will have a drive-thru window for selling coffee. He said no packets of liquor would be sold. Hours would be 6:00am to 11:00pm daily.

Prior to Brand’s comments, Fourth Ward Alderman Kirk Woods noted that the facility would have video games and he asked “when will the city reach saturation with video game machines?”

Mayor Pastor responded anytime the Council wanted, they could set a limit on the number of slot machines allowed in the city.

The vote to approve the license was 6 to 1, with Ward Three Alderman Stave Scott voting “No”.

Members voted to approve a resolution granting the state of the city’s right-of-way on the bike path to install a concrete culvert as part of a bridge replacement. Holthaus said if the wooden braid bridge over the trail had already failed, the trail could continue over the culvert.

Kitchell Park will be the scene of a disc golf outing promoted by the Pana Disc Golf committee on Saturday October 29th. It will be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Dennis Bain spoke to the Council about a possible concert in the park on October 22. He said four to five “family” groups and individuals would perform. Although no objections were raised, it will be placed on the agenda for the next Board meeting for formal approval.

And this next Board meeting will be a day later than usual due to the Columbus Day holiday. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m.

There was a 17 minute executive session near the end of the meeting to review the closed session minutes and employment. At 8:04 p.m., they emerged and, in open session, passed a resolution to release the minutes of the closed session. No measures have been taken regarding employment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.

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