Hillcrest board: Presentation made on bowling alley property changes

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the Hillcrest Village Board of Trustees heard a presentation by Grant Manning on potential future changes to the former bowling alley property at 201-203 Powers Road.

Rhoads, Potter and Huerta sworn in

HILLCREST — At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the Hillcrest Village Board of Trustees heard a presentation by Grant Manning on potential future changes to the former bowling alley property at 201-203 Powers Road.

Manning is one of the owners of the property. He said Wednesday that plans include demolishing the structures on the property and constructing buildings with storage units that could be utilized by businesses.

"What I want to do is put up something nice that somebody can put their storefront on, and hopefully it brings people to the village and makes that corner look a lot nicer," Manning said. "I want to light it up and make it look nice."

Manning said the venture would begin by constructing one 240-foot building along Powers Road, and others would be built later on. The units would have access to electricity, but not water and sewer. He said he is currently working on getting bids for the project.

"If it goes well and it fills up and is making money, then we'd possibly put up two more," Manning said. "But we want to do it in a financially-smart way.”

The change in the property's use would require a zoning change from highway business district to light industrial. A special meeting for the change is planned to be held at 6 p.m. ahead of the village board's next meeting on June 14. Residents within 250 feet of the property will be notified ahead of the meeting.

"I would love to see something go in there to get some new businesses in the village," Village President Rick Rhoads said. "It's the first thing you see when you come into Hillcrest. That's something I've always harped on, that something nice should go in there."

If the zoning change is approved, Manning said he would begin getting estimates for demolition and cleanup before elevation work and construction. Units could be divided up based on tenants' specifications, he said.

"I think it's a good thing for the community, as far as your small carpenter or plumber or somebody like that, that doesn't want their van, trailer and and their stuff in their driveway or garage at home," Manning said. "I'm excited for it. This is our first idea. If it goes well, we could put a few more buildings up, and I think it'd be a good thing."

Swearing ins

Following his election to the office in April, Rhoads was sworn in as village president at the meeting. Rhoads defeated incumbent Randy Salsbury in the election. Salsbury departed the board Wednesday, along with Trustee Renee Kerwin, who did not run for reelection.

Trustees Dan Potter and Jose Huerta were sworn in Wednesday as well. Potter ran unopposed for reelection in April along with Trustee Tim Ball, who was absent Wednesday and will be sworn in next month. Huerta was reappointed to his trustee position Wednesday.

Rhoads

Following being sworn in, Rhoads gave an administration update on a number of issues.

Following Kerwin and Salsbury leaving the board, Hillcrest has two open trustee positions that Rhoads hopes to fill by next month's meeting. He asked anyone interested in the positions to reach out to the village.

The village will hold a vote next month to make Potter vice president of the board, so he can lead meetings in the case of Rhoads' absence.

The village is also still seeking to hire a maintenance employee, along with a treasurer. At its April meeting, the board approved the hiring of Carolyn Brown as village treasurer, but Rhoads said she eventually decided against taking the position. Former Village Treasurer Debra Argetsinger resigned following the March board meeting.

Rhoads addressed the village's future following his election to office.

"We have a lot of work to do," Rhoads said. "We need to work together and as a team to move this village forward. We have a lot of big projects coming up and we'll need everyone's help."

Water

The board heard an update on projects from its engineering firm, Baxter & Woodman.

Engineer Kaitlin Wright said she's still waiting for clarity on the village's ability to receive principal forgiveness on an IEPA loan for Hillcrest's priority 1A water main project.

The village still has time before July 1 to decide whether it wants to go out to bid for the project.

The current construction estimate on the project is $2.68 million. Hillcrest's debt limit on the project is roughly $2.7 million. Wright said last month that the village could no longer be eligible for principal forgiveness on the project's loan through the IEPA due to requirements involving the village's median household income and unemployment rate. Baxter & Woodman previously planned to receive as much as $1.25 million in principal forgiveness.

The village's yearly payment on the loan for the project would be $163,242, which would equate to an average water bill increase of roughly $30 per month.

Software

The board unanimously approved a $5,580 purchase for a Locis software upgrade. Rhoads said that among other new capabilities, the upgrade will allow for village bookkeeping to be done remotely, which could help it attract a new treasurer.

Solar

The board postponed any action on a potential new zoning ordinance for residential and commercial solar panels in the village until further notice. 

In December, Village Building Inspector Casper Manheim presented the village with information on solar permit fee structures used by other municipalities in the region. A fee structure would allow the village to charge permit fees for residents that install solar along with a large commercial solar development planned for the future within village limits. 

Cleanup

A village-wide cleanup event will be held May 20, Village Clerk Dawn Bearrows said.