City of Belleville City Council met February 26.
City of Belleville City Council met February 26.
Here is the minutes provided by the Council:
Mayor Mark Eckert called this meeting to order.
Mayor Eckert explained the disaster procedures. Mayor Eckert reminded anyone speaking this evening to step up to a microphone because the meetings are being taped and posted the next day on the website.
Mayor Eckert requested City Clerk Meyer to call roll. Members present on roll call: Alderman Hazel, Alderwoman Pusa, Alderman Randle, Alderman Anthony, Alderman Ovian, Alderwoman Schaefer, Alderman Dintelman, Alderman Gaa, Alderwoman Stiehl, Alderman Weygandt, Alderman Elmore, Alderman Wigginton and Alderman Barfield.
Members absent on roll call: Alderman Kinsella, Alderman Buettner, Alderman Tyler.
Roll Call Department Heads:
Roll Call Department Heads: City Attorney Hoerner. Director of Finance, Jamie Maitret; Director of Economic Development, Annissa McCaskill and Assistant Director of Economic Development, Eric Schauster.
Mayor Eckert led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Pollock is speaking in support of the amended financial proposal for the Meredith Home. This is a rare opportunity as a historian that you are taking a beautiful piece of Belleville's history and recrafting in such a way for the future that will create economic prosperity that is truly exciting for downtown Belleville. She urges the council to vote in favor of the proposal.
Alderman Elmore mentioned that the City is selling the property for $600,000 and the vouchers are for only $426,000. While that is true you forget the taxpayers paid $490,000 for the building and another $126,000 to repair the roof. There is a substantial investment in the building.
For those of you that have questions about parking he recommended that they read the Downtown Surface Parking Study and the Downtown Parking Structure Studies that were done for the City.
There have been businesses that have come and gone since the reports were done; however, in general they are good reports and a good study of parking for the downtown area.
The question that didn't come up is will the assistance be paid for with TIF funds or will other funds be used? What happens if the TIF expires before the 10th year of assistance.
In conclusion, he is in favor of this project. He has always wanted to see the building saved but hopes the expenses to the taxpayers to be kept at a minimum.
Belleville has treasurers that have been hiding in full view for decades. These are the downtown buildings of historic and architectural value. A growing number of these are being recognized for what they are and being revitalized. The historic Hotel Belleville (Meredith Home) is one of the most significant of these, in part, because it is a testament to the civic involvement of Bellevillians. Locals raised funds in the midst of the depression to construct it because they saw it as a significant project.
The building again stimulated public involvement when demolition seemed inevitable.
The building is poised once again to become an economic engine for this city. Now is a good time to SEIZE the opportunity to make it happen.
Mr. Betz is, from the Historical Society, and they as an organization support this development. They have a copy of the original blueprints and are dated one month before the stock market crash in 1929. The project was doomed at that point. There were a group of civic members, mostly through the Chamber, that stood up and took charge to raise the money to make that project happen.
The architect shows a style of architure that was very popular in the United States at that time. It has preceded its popularity in Europe but in the 1920's the art deco style moved into this country and the architect chose that style which was very modern at that time.
It was primarily developed to draw people from St. Louis to Belleville, right across the Eads Bridge straight out West Main Street to Public Square to eat white asparagus.
Alderwoman Pusa made a motion seconded by Alderwoman Schaefer to approve the amended development agreement with MH Belleville Associates, LP.
Alderman Wigginton stated without this the building will be gone and a gaping hole present as opposed to a building lit up, vibrant and generating economics. Mr. Hagberg brought up an interesting point about how much the city has invested. Alderman Wigginton talked to the committee about the return on the investment and that it is bringing people living in an urban center. This can spur other buildings being built up, other loft apartments being occupied.
This is not a short term deal. This deal on 47 units should not revolve around 12 units that will have vouchers. You must look at the entire building. Ten years from now if the city looks back at a building that is gone and the city has to come up with $1.5 million to tear down the city will be saying "shame on us".
Alderman Randle stated the investment to date is approximately $625,000. Tonight the council is here to discuss an additional investment of approximately $476,000 which would be defrayed by the sales price of $600,000. The bottom line is the City stands to recoup it's investment with property taxes over approximately 20 years which will be given an additional 50 years or more of life. The business of investing is finding a return on your investment. There are a number of factors that determine whether or not that investment rewards the shareholders accordingly. This will be a long-term investment.
This situation is a bit like the antique car collector who finds a show of the classic with the intent to restore only to discover he neither hasthe keys nor the money nor the expertise to pull it off. It is time we put the keys in the hands of those that will be able to make it run again.
Members voting aye on roll call: Hazel, Pusa, Randle, Anthony, Ovian, Schaefer, Dintelman, Gaa, Stiehl, Weygandt, Elmore and Wigginton. (12)
Member voting nay on roll call: Barfield. (1)
Alderman Randle made a motion seconded by Alderwoman Schaefer to adjourn at 6:42 pm.
All members voted aye.