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WJBD - Local News - Salem City Council to Discuss Future of Salem Armory and Former Library Building

Salem City Council to Discuss Future of Salem Armory and Former Library Building

By WJBD News

The Salem City Council tonight will discuss the future of the former Bryan Bennett Library Building at 400 South Broadway and the Salem Armory at 531 North College.  

Jim Dice has offered to donate the former library building as a museum that would be operated by the Salem Historical Commission.  City Manager Bill Gruen is asking the city council if they would like the city to pursue the use of $54,000 in federal UDAG money recaptured by the city from an earlier project to make needed roof, tuck pointing, and other needed repairs.  The estimated cost of needed improvements is placed at $47,600.  If UDAG funds are used, the city will have to prove how the improvements would serve low to moderate income residents.  

Gruen is also wanting to gain council input on obtaining the Armory building that would then be given to U.S. Sonet for redevelopment for their business as well as some community use.  U.S. Sonet was the only business or organization to submit a proposal to the city for reuse of the building.  If the council wants to pursue the project, Gruen wants to begin working with the planning commission on needed zoning changes and the State Legislature to give final approval to the transfer of the title to the city.  Gruen says that could come during the fall veto session or during the regular session next year.    

The council will look at limiting the number of Class 'D' liquor licenses that are being sought by businesses interested in opening establishments to cater to video gaming.  Right now, there is no limit on that catagory of license.  Gruen says a Class 'G' license would remain available for sale of beer and wine at hotels and restaurants with more food sales than other business.  The city has recently issued new Class D licenses to Lucy's Place and Nikki's Place that plan to offer video gaming.   Lucy's Place has leased the east half of the former Austin Restaurant building.  Nikki's Place has leased space in the Spectra Shopping Center.   

The council will take its first look at the property tax levy for the coming year.  Gruen says the entire $25,998 in new revenue expected to be allowed under tax caps will go to the Bryan Bennett Library to return its tax rate to the full 15-cents.  

The council will consider a purchase agreement for natural gas with the Illinois Public Energy Agency.  While IPEA would like a contract through 2019.  Gruen prefers only a three year agreement.     

A closed session is on the agenda to discuss employee compensation.  The meeting begins at six Monday night at Salem City Hall.   

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