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By Beth Zumwalt
Robert Evans was at the Aug. 17 Pittsfield City Council meeting asking if the council could grant him a special use permit for property he owns at 4:15 E. Perry Street. Evans would like make the property into a bee museum.
“I think it would add a different flavor to our historical district,” he said. “The All-Wars Museum and the Pike County Historical Society’s museum are right there.”
Evans said a special use permit is needed because bees are considered livestock. He said he has been in touch with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and also talked to several bee keepers in the area,who have offered their help.
“I envision it having a glass wall where visitors can see the bees working,” Evans said. “We could also have a room to watch videos on bees and another with antique and current bee keeping equipment.”
Evans said the museum would also have information on the more than 1,000 species of bees.
He is unsure of his funding, but said he will not fund the operation, but instead will look for private investors and grants to make the renovations to the building.
“But I want to know if I can legally operate it before I get started applying for grants and such,” he said.
Council agreed to do some research on the matter and get back to Evans as soon as possible. An ordinance committee meeting to discuss the matter was set for Sept. 7 before the regular council meeting.
The council also agreed to grant the bid for sealing the Serenity Day Spa wall. The adjacent building was recently demolished by the city and the exposed wall repaired. Now it requires sealing.
The city put the project up for bids and received none. Alderman Robert Wilson, Ward 4, is a mason and as offered to do the job for $750 if the city buys the materials. The council agreed.
State stature says members of a board or council can do work for the entity they serve as long as it is under $2,000 per project and $4,000 per year, according to Mike Hollahan, city attorney.
“It didn’t used to be anything,” Hollahan said.
The council will also replace the bridge on Fred Durr Road after several deficiencies were found in the board and iron structure.
The bridge will be replaced with a $65,000 tube. The money will come from the city’s emergency funds as the bridge is unsafe and needs to be replaced before harvest season begins.
The council also discussed replacing the street lights from Memorial Street to Jackson Street and around the outside of the square.
The costs they received made the project unfeasible but Ed Knight, city economic development director, said he would research the matter and see if more affordable fixtures, that match the ones on the inside of the square, could be obtained.
The council also granted a variance to Ray and Judy Davenport to replace a porch on their East Washington home that did not meet set back requirements. Instead of a 25 foot front yard, the porch will only have a 20 foot, the same footprint as it was before but before zoning rules were adopted.