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City of Litchfield September 2017 Volume 14 Issue 2
Our community has many reasons to be proud of the city in which we live. With a population of only 7,000 residents, we have a growing economy, good schools, access to many retail choices, restaurants and commercial businesses. We are primed for even more growth and new jobs. Everywhere you look, people are building, repairing and remodeling. Finding a contractor is almost impossible unless you are willing to wait weeks and sometimes months. It shows that our citizens are proud and want to give a good impression to visitors and neighbors.
City Hall is receiving an increased number of complaints from citizens that some of us are not doing all that needs to be done to maintain our properties and neighborhoods. The City and residents in many areas have mowed and cleaned up their neighbor’s trash for months and years in some cases. Thank you to those residents that helped with these properties. We have ordinances that cover many of these issues including vacant buildings, grass and weeds, trash and other signs of neglect; however, the City must follow the statutes.
The City offers clean-up and brush pick-up twice each year. For a few months a year there is a
dumpster at our police station for residential debris; the dumpster has now been removed, but will return for a short time to assist with fall clean-up. We also provide a location for you to take limbs and brush for burning. Still, many neighborhoods have yards filled with trash and brush. Many are putting trash and brush on the City boulevards all year long. THIS IS NOT ALLOWED AND MAY LEAD TO A WARNING/CITATION. Take note of the City services scheduled for your ward on our City website and later in this newsletter.
The City will continue to act on complaints of those property owners that violate ordinances with derelict, vacant or trash-filled properties. In the past (and currently) we have filed liens against land owners that don’t respond to warnings. Although this is an unfortunate expense for you, the taxpayer, we will step up our efforts in the coming months to help you clean-up your neighborhood by prosecuting those violators. In some cases, the City will legally obtain deeds to properties and offer them for sale. Although, the whole process can take months and sometimes years, we will continue to pursue to the end. Violators take note. You are in danger of losing your property if you don’t take the proper care that your neighbors and our community deserve. Trash, weeds, tall grass, boarded windows and doors, tarps on roofs for extended periods and siding blowing in the wind are only a few things that will be cited.
We all need to get behind this. I will be happy to speak with anyone that may have issues with this effort, and I would also welcome your support.
Let us all work together for the benefit of all of us.
COURTESY – FALL CLEAN-UP/BRUSH PICK-UP
As a service to residents, the City of Litchfield will provide FALL CLEAN-UP the week of October 16th, weather permitting. Pick-up will begin in Ward 1 and continue through each of the additional wards accordingly. Residents must have their items at the boulevard by 7:00 AM on Monday, October 16th. Appliances will be picked up Friday, October 20th. The Staff will make a single pass on each street. ONCE THEY PASS, THE STAFF WILL NOT COME BACK. NO TIRES, BRUSH, RAILROAD TIES, PAINT, HOUSEHOLD TRASH OR ELECTRONICS will be taken. Building lumber and materials will be taken in small quantities only. Any objects must weigh LESS than 70 pounds and may be no larger than 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Also, Staff will not pick up torn down structures, fire damaged structures or out of town trash. The City appreciates the cooperation of the citizens to abide by these guidelines. CLEAN-UP ITEMS MAY NOT BE PLACED AT THE BOULEVARD ANY EARLIER THAN OCTOBER 9TH FOR PICK-UP as it is a code violation and will be subject to a citation. Violators may be cited. There will be a Electronics Recycling Drive on Saturday, September 30th in Litchfield to assist with clean-up; please go to www.cityoflitchfieldil.com for further information.
FALL BRUSH PICK-UP, a service to our citizens, will be offered by the City the week of November 6th if weather permits. Pick-up will begin in Ward 1 and progress through each of the four wards accordingly. The Staff will make a single pass on each street. ONCE THEY PASS, THE STAFF WILL NOT COME BACK. Please have your brush out at the boulevard by 7:00 AM, Monday, November 6th. BRUSH MAY NOT BE PLACED AT THE BOULEVARD BEFORE OCTOBER 30thFOR PICK-UP as it will be subject to a code violation and a citation. Violators may be cited. If you miss pick-up, residents are allowed to drop off brush at the City facility on South Adams Street, Monday-Friday from
7:00 AM-3:00 PM. Yard waste, big logs, whole trees, limbs or any trees/limbs cut down by a contractor will not be picked up; contractors are not allowed to deposit brush or trees at this facility.
For questions or clarifications on Fall Clean-up or Brush Pick-up, please call 217-324-5253.
School zone safety REMINDERS
Since we have returned to the routine of the school year, let’s keep in mind that children returning to school are distracted by excitement. They are excited about the new school year, the prospect of making new friends, and seeing old ones. As they are being distracted by simply being children, we adults need to use extreme caution in and around our schools. Listed below are some helpful reminders to ensure we all have a good school year.
PASSING A SCHOOL BUS LOADING AND UNLOADING - It is unlawful to pass a school bus that has the "Stop" sign with red flashing lights out from either direction, even if the bus appears to be stopped on the side of the road.
• Minimum fine is $150.00 for the first offense; $500.00 for each subsequent offense
• Driver's license suspended a minimum of three months
USE OF CELL PHONE IN A SCHOOL ZONE - It is unlawful to use a cell phone, other than a hands-free device, while operating a motor vehicle. This includes talking, texting, or accessing other media with a phone.
• Violation requires a mandatory court appearance; fine will be based on the circumstances of the case
SPEEDING IN A SCHOOL ZONE – The speed limit in a school zone is 20 mph.
• Minimum fine for the first offense is $150.00 plus court costs; $300.00 for each subsequent offense
FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS NEW LEADERSHIP
Kevin Schott has been named to the position of Fire Chief for the City of Litchfield. Chief Schott recently retired as the Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office. He spent 24 years in the Military with the United States Air Force and Illinois National Guard and has 35 years of experience as a Volunteer and Career Firefighter. The Chief also has extensive education in Fire and Technical Rescue prevention methods and mitigation. Among many other duties, the Chief will be working to lower the ISO rating for the City.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT progress continues
As you have seen, economic development is happening in Litchfield. The City is experiencing growth, new development and expansion. Commercial development continues with multiple projects in Route 66 Crossings from restaurants to a medical facility and additional inquiries are received continuously. Other new businesses continue to locate here such as Copper Creek Cottages while other companies are expanding like Sierra and Allscripts. The City has been able to attract and/or assist with projects by utilizing our Enterprise Zone and TIF District.
Due to planning and foresight by the current and past Administrations and City Councils along with the Economic Development Commission, a third industrial park is underway and infrastructure construction will begin soon. The park will allow for development of new industrial and commercial businesses and additional jobs; it will also allow for future bulk water sales. This long-term project will take several years to fully develop.
The new park allows the City to respond to a much greater variety of prospective projects. Our ability to respond has been limited due to the supply of buildings and land available. The project will be funded with long term Economic Development Funds and any grants the City is awarded.
BUILDING PERMITS HAVE BEEN UPDATED
The City of Litchfield recently adopted the 2015 International Building Code (IBC). In accordance with the IBC, changes have been made to the building permit. The code outlines that a building permit is now valid for 180 days. Previously, the permit was valid for one year. Possible sixty-day extensions can be granted with approval by the Building Inspector. Demolition permits are now valid for 90 days.
This change will help alleviate some ongoing issues such as not starting or not completing permitted projects. An uncompleted project is not a benefit to the City or a neighborhood. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Building and Zoning Office at 217-324-8140.
ANNUAL LAKE LOU YAEGER DRAWDOWN SCHEDULED
The annual winter drawdown at Lake Lou Yaeger will begin on November 14th. The City instituted the mid-November drawdown following the installation of the new gate system several years ago, which lowers the level of the lake at a slower rate. The drawdown allows the City to make needed improvements to structures, protects the shoreline, and protects structures from ice damage. As in years past, the lake will be drawn down approximately four feet. It is anticipated the lake will be allowed to re-fill in mid-February.
Volunteer FIREFIGHTERS Needed
If you have ever considered becoming a Volunteer Firefighter, please contact the Litchfield Fire Chief at
217-324-8170 with your interest and/or questions regarding the department and becoming a firefighter.
TIPS FOR Fall Tree Planting FROM THE TREE BOARD
Most trees are planted in the spring. So, why should you plant them in the fall? Planting in the fall, the earlier the better, will give the roots two seasons, fall and spring for growth before the heat of the following summer kicks in. That means less care for the planter and far less stress for the trees. Listed below are some helpful tips from the City of Litchfield Tree Board to promote proper tree care and management.
Proper variety selection and careful planting is important. Follow installation directions provided or ask questions. If your site is seasonally very wet, as most of Litchfield is, set your tree on a slight mound. You can always add water but you can never take away excess. Too much water kills, sometimes many years later. Choose suitable and approved species, preferably those types that are native. For shade trees one of our many oak species is generally a good choice. You should avoid certain species; such as ornamental pear varieties. There are many good websites to aid you in your decision. They include the following: http://extension.illinois.edu/treeselector/sort.cfm?fn=Size or https://www.ameren.com/illinois/environment/tree-planting-tips.
2017 LITCHFIELD FALL TOURISM EVENTS
Check out the remaining Litchfield events for 2017. More information is available at www.visitlitchfield.com.
Litchfield Pickers Market October 8th Downtown Litchfield
Golden Eagle Intertribal Powwow September 22nd-24th Lake Lou Yaeger Picnic Area 4
6th Annual West Fork Encampment October 7th-8th Lake Lou Yaeger Picnic Area 4
Rt 66 Half Marathon, 5K, Mile Dash October 22nd Historic Route 66
TRICK OR TREATING HOURS SET FOR LITCHFIELD
The Halloween Parade sponsored by the Rotary Club will begin at 4:00 PM on Saturday, October 28th; registration, judging and line-up start at 3:00 PM at Sihler School. The hours for Trick or Treating are as follows: Saturday, October 28th at the conclusion of the parade until 9:00 PM and Tuesday, October 31st from 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Both nights will be for all ages.
MADISON PARK IMPROVEMENTS DELAYED
The renovation of Madison Park was set to continue with a second phase of the project. Unfortunately, vandalism has put a delay in moving forward. Misuse and damage to the new equipment is a sign of abuse.
Please report vandalism or misuse to the Police Department when you see it occurring so it can be stopped. This project is an investment in the community and abuse of the park will not be tolerated. The park is monitored by cameras and vandals will be prosecuted. If minors are caught vandalizing the park, parents will be subject to restitution for any damages.
When Phase II moves forward it will include multi swing units, a small climbing unit, soft surfacing and a pavilion. Funds from the W. Darrell Kilton Foundation have been used for the project. Help protect the Park.
City hall HOLIDAY HOURS
Litchfield City Hall will be closed the following holidays during November, December, and January.
Friday, November 10th Veteran's Day
Thursday, November 23rd & Friday, November 24th Thanksgiving
Friday, December 23rd & Monday, December 25th Christmas
Monday, January 1st New Year’s Day