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home : local news : local news July 25, 2017

6/29/2017 1:49:00 PM
Group raises $67K for new tennis-court surface
Daily News

Plans may be changing for the reconstruction of the Robinson tennis courts.

At Tuesday's Robinson City Council meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Shimer announced that the Robinson tennis coaches, who attended the previous meeting, have raised sufficient funds for an asphalt tennis court to be installed at Washington Park.

The council gave permission to the group to seek funding for its recommended asphalt court, despite already approving the construction of a flex court at the site during a meeting earlier this summer.

During the meeting Shimer said after meeting with the coaches he recommended pursuing the asphalt court and coloring, with the funds being given to the city treasurer when received. Shimer added an analogy to cars when comparing the two playing surfaces.

"I think we agreed the flex court was going to work, but it was the Chevrolet and not the Cadillac," Shimer said. "They are close with getting their funds together, right now they are at $67,500."

The paving of the asphalt and coloring once it settles is expected to take 30 to 40 days, with Shimer believing late August or September or even the beginning of next year to be the right time for construction.

The council agreed to table the motion to seek bids for installing the asphalt court until the next meeting on Tuesday, July 11. Bids for lights, asphalt and fencing are expected to be made separately.

Alderman Barb Alexander praised the group for their efforts in finding funds. "They've done a super job raising funds in a short amount of time," she said.

The flex court bid was announced at the meeting as costing $98,760.

Two zoning changes were denied following recommendations made after a committee meeting last week.

Shimer said 1109 S. Jones, which was planning to use two lots for a storage building, was deemed unfit for the change because its dimensions - 470 square feet - do not meet the minimum requirements of 850 square feet.

A zoning change from a RS-40 to RM-18 at 807 S. Robb was also denied. Alexander added that the city's current zoning code, established in 2013, recommends that a drawing plan be submitted along with the application for zoning change.

"We can't change the zoning classification unless we know what's going in there," Alexander said.

City Attorney Frank Weber and Shimer confirmed Alexander's reasoning.

"We need a clear definition of what is going to be built," Shimer said. "When they make the application they need to represent what they are going to do."

The council added that this zoning plan must be submitted and approved in 180 days.

Four property owners have made contact with Mayor Roger Pethtel and members of the building redevelopment committee. This week's properties on the agenda including 304 Locust, 300 E. Locust, 1103 N. Cross and 111 W. Highland.

The owner of 300 E. Locust was present at the meeting and delivered her plan to use the building for personal storage. Mayor Pethtel acknowledged that some health hazards need to be fixed at the property while it is redeveloped. The owner, who took control of the property a year ago, agreed to fix the issues.

The 304 Locust property had been up for sale but did not sell, sending it back to the original owner, James Brunson.

"He said he sold the property to a third party and it should have closed last Friday," Robinson Police Chief Chad Weaver said. "But he doesn't know who the owner is."

Meanwhile, the owners of 111 W. Highland and 1103 N. Cross contacted the mayor. The owner of the North Cross property also was at the meeting. He said he has found a contractor to demolish the building at an agreeable price.

The Robinson Police Department received permission from the council to hire a flex officer. Weaver said this flex officer will work various shifts, which will cover overtime and reduce expenses.

New transmission for the department's Ford Explorer was approved. The transmission will be purchased from Main Street Transmission in Casey for $3,500, with a two-year warranty.

Weaver's request for a revised synthetic drug ordinance was also approved at the meeting. Weaver said this organize synthetic ordinances for cannabis and drugs into one category with fine schedules all on the same level.

In other business, the council approved the release of a lien at 206 Tampa for $2,260.50 and gave permission to seek bids for the financing of a street sweeper for $197,995. Bids are due by 10 a.m. July 10.

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