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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Upon opening bids for the long-planned expansion of the Winchester Public Library, city officials were dismayed to discover that estimates for the construction work came in significantly higher than the grant awarded to conduct the work.
Winchester Mayor Rex McIntire, at the Wednesday, Sept. 1, Winchester city council meeting, reported that two bids were received for the work – a bid for $515,000 from Macomb’s Trotter Contracting, and a bid from Macomb’s Laverdiere Construction for $610,000. The state grant awarded to the library allows for construction costs of approximately $318,000.
According to McIntire, the city hopes to garner additional funds to make up the difference between the grant and the recently received bids for the work. McIntire said the city has been in touch with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) representatives to seek additional grant money to bridge the funding gap.
“We’ve been in contact with USDA’s Dwight Reynolds,” McIntire said. “We’re hoping to get another $200,000 from USDA.”
McIntire said the difference in the budgeted amount and the bids is largely due to increases in material and labor costs. However, the state’s grant award, according to McIntire, is based on a budget submitted with a grant application a decade ago.
“The original budget is 10 years old,” McIntire said.
McIntire said he is hopeful that additional USDA money will come through to finally make the library expansion a reality.
“We’re being optimistic,” McIntire said. “We’re not counting on anything. We’re hoping we’ll find enough funding to get the project going.”
Also at the council meeting, Winchester Alderman William Jacqout officially honored Winchester resident Kent Coultas for his recent induction into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame.
Coultas was inducted as a “friend of basketball,” into the IBCA Hall of Fame 2021 class on Saturday, Aug. 28, at Redbird Arena in Normal.
Coultas recently completed his 40th year of keeping the basketball scorebook for Winchester High School and the West Central Co-op. He has kept the scorebook for the Winchester Invitational Tournament (WIT) for 30 years. Coultas also keeps the scorebook or operates the scoreboard for the high school girls program as well as for the junior high boys and girls programs.
The council also codified slowing Winchester’s speed limit to 20 miles per hour unless otherwise posted. One reason for the change was regulating speeds on Jefferson Street/Coultas Road.
“I’m not sure if people are realizing, but we do have a new speed limit on the curve,” McIntire said.
McIntire went on to say that the council is looking at better regulating speeding throughout the community. The council has urged Winchester police to better control speeding in residential areas.
“The police have issued a few more citations than they had been,” McIntire said.
Also approved at the meeting was the purchase of $1,100 of lighted barricades for Winchester’s public works department.
In addition, the installation of a sidewalk along the west side of Monument Park was approved. The sidewalk will run approximately 300 feet from Park Street to the driveway leading out of the park near the University of Illinois Extension building.
Just shy of a $500 contribution from the city toward the installation of new glass at the Community Outreach Center was also approved by the council.
The council went on to approve paying Benton and Associates $2,500 to plat out lots on city-owned property along North Main Street near Daws.
In addition, a bid from Leo Anslyn for $4,850 was accepted to replace the sewer plant roof.
Finally, following closed session, Animal Control Warden Leigh Winner’s compensation was increased from $200 per month to $350 per month.