Pittsfield eyes industrial park expansion
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By BETH ZUMWALT
The Pittsfield City Council is looking at expanding the Pittsfield Industrial Park. The matter was discussed at the Jan. 17 meeting.
“We only have two lots left to sell,” Mayor Gary Mendenhall, said. “One of those is covered in trees and the other is behind an existing business.”
Mendenhall and the council are looking at expanding to the east and then to the north, a move that would include the city’s current brush burning pile. Preparing the area for potential businesses won’t be cheap.
“We estimate it would cost $4.4 million to clear the land, pave the streets, do curbing and guttering, add sewer, water and gas to the area,” Mendenhall said. “It would create an additional 18 lots to cover 57 acres.”
Currently the Illinois Department of Transportation has a $2.2 million grant available and the city has a lead on a couple of other grants that might make up the other needed portion.
“Plus there is an investor looking at bringing a business into the park that could potentially hire more than 100 people,” Mendenhall said. “There is a grant that will pay $25,000 for every job created.”
The city wants to start on the project as soon as possible, given that many potential opportunities for both industry and grants for those industries require a shovel ready project.
Paperwork is in the process of applying for the grants, but Mendenhall expects it to be 18-24 months before any of the work can begin.
Expansion was the buzz word at the Jan.17 meeting. Coy Bainter and Damon Vincent were on hand to seek the council’s permission to expand the existing disc golf course at Pittsfield Lake.
The two were representing Carpe Disc Golf in asking for the addition to the course.
Carpe hosted the Big Buck Classic last fall and it brought in 78 competitors from all over the midwest.
The competitors were both male and female and were of varying competitive levels.
“We had some upper tier players and some beginners,” Bainter said. “We received lots of compliments on our course. With the expansion we could host a two-day tournament and people would be staying overnight in our motels, eating at our restaurants, buying gas and doing other shopping,”
But in order to expand the tournament, the course needs to be bigger.
“We’d like to put a beginners course near the South Campground,” Bainter said.
The council was open to the idea, but wanted assurances there would be no interference on youth soccer, which is played Sundays during the fall in that same area.
Bainter assured the council it would not.
“I have children who play soccer,” he said. “Soccer doesn’t start until 1 p.m. or so. We would schedule any games that require that course for any of our tournaments be played first thing on Sunday morning.”
The two men were asking for $10,000 to be able to hire Dave McCormack, a disc golf hall of fame and course designer. He designed the original course on the east side of the lake.
The money will pay for the course expansion designing and the purchase of the baskets for the course.
“We will concrete the tee pads and do some other stuff with our own money,” Bainter said. “We have leftover materials from when we did the ones on the original course.”
McCormick has played the course at the city lake and has pronounced it ’spectacular.’
Last fall, 41 local businesses sponsored the Big Buck Classic in some way. Food options were provided by various businesses and organizations from the county. One goal for this year’s event is to attract more vendors.