The Robinson City Council is weighing its options after listening to a proposal from the local Marathon Mach One owner.
Randy Meyer appeared before the council Tuesday to discuss his plan to remodel the facility into a convenience store and gaming room.
"We want to conduct a major face lift of the inside, which is pretty typical of a store which has been around this long," Meyer said.
Meyer said he intends on adding a gaming room on the west side of the building, which will be completely enclosed from the store.
In order to create the gaming room, Kate's Place, Meyer has requested the city issue Mach One a pour license so they can apply to the Illinois Gaming Board. This would allow Kate's Place customers to be served beer as they use the machines.
Alderman Jim McKinney said the pour license would be a Class A license. Meyer said his other stores in Charleston and Fairfield average 2-5 beer sales per day, with most profits coming from the gaming.
As far as security is concerned, Meyer said cameras will be set up everywhere in the store to ensure nobody under age of 21 enters Kate's. Cashiers will also have a headset which will signal when someone enters the gaming room. ID's of anyone who looks 27 or younger will also be checked.
Kate's Place will also have its own separate entrance from the store.
"There is no way someone can exit the gaming room and go into the store without exiting the building," Meyer said.
Mayor Roger Pethtel said he and a few other Robinson representatives visited Meyer's facility in Charleston and scouted it first-hand.
"I was kind of impressed with the security," Pethtel said.
Pethtel pointed that the city currently has 10 gaming licenses in use, and worried that Meyer's proposed six machines to his store would make Huck's and Casey's decide to create gaming rooms as well. None of the city's gas stations has a gaming room at this time.
Owners of other businesses with gaming rooms said at the meeting they were concerned about losing business. Meyer said he is under the belief that most of the time a new gaming establishment would generate more revenue for other businesses as well.
"It has almost no impact on clubs," Meyer said.
A Kate's Place has already been approved for Lawrenceville's Mach One station. Alderman Gene Sinclair asked Meyer what the estimated tax revenue would be for gaming and sales at the store. Meyer said about $25-35,000 most likely.
Aldermen will continue the discussion at the Feb. 11 council meeting.
In other business Tuesday, Robinson Police Chief Chad Weaver asked for $6,304 to be paid to the Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center. This would pay for new officer Logan Miller's tuition and room and board as he prepares to take his test. Weaver said Miller started the academy two weeks ago and the Illinois Training Board is now asking for payment up front. The city will be reimbursed but the amount is indefinite at this time.
The council also gave permission to apply for Heath, Claypool and tourism grants for the parks department. City Treasurer Denise Jobe said that grants will go towards all-inclusive playground equipment at the city park.
City Engineer Jeff Hillard laid out his needs for 2020, which were approved as a resolution for 2020 motor fuel tax street maintenance.
"These are usual things for us such as road salt, cold patch, metal culverts, paint for striping and Class SI concrete," Hillard said.
The council also approved the purchase of a new drug tester for the department.
"The cost is $25,200, with $15,000 coming from the recent Mary Heath Grant," Sinclair said. "The other $10,200 will come from the DUI fund."
A revised synthetic drug ordinance was also approved, which coincides with the state's legalization of recreational marijuana.
Tony Terry was hired as a full-time custodian for the Robinson Community center. Terry is expected to begin work Monday.