Mayor announces Paris is ready for Phase 4 reopening

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 6/29/20

The state moved into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan Friday, June 26,, and Paris Mayor Craig Smith discussed what that means during the Monday, June 22, city meeting.

Under Governor JB …

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Mayor announces Paris is ready for Phase 4 reopening

Posted

The state moved into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan Friday, June 26,, and Paris Mayor Craig Smith discussed what that means during the Monday, June 22, city meeting.

Under Governor JB Pritizker’s plan to bring Illinois back into recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Phase 4 means some indoor dining at restaurants returns, bars can reopen, as can fitness centers, zoos, museums, movie theaters, performing arts centers and some indoor recreations facilities. These are not full openings as there are occupancy limitations of 50 people or 50% of capacity, whichever is less. Bars can not have more than 25% of capacity and servers must wear masks.

“We still want to have appropriate social distancing,” said Smith.

The governor’s plan sets a maximum of 50 people in a group gathering and based on the rules regarding outside recreational facilities Smith said the campground at Twin Lakes Park and the Splash Pad can now reopen.

Chris Redman, head of the city’s Streets, Alleys and Parks Department, reported scheduling a plumber to get the water turned on for both the campground and the Splash Pad in time for opening June 26.

Smith emphasized crowd limitations apply at the Splash Pad and anyone with questions about how to safely enjoy that attraction should contact the Edgar County Public Health Department.

“Parents have to be responsible for their children,” said Smith. “They can’t simply drop them off and come back later.”

More information about what can reopen in Phase 4, the crowd limitations and other guidelines are available at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity website and the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

The mayor also urged local citizens to be cognizant of the risks posed by COVID-19, and their personal responsibilities during the pandemic.

“Please if you go shopping or are going to be in the public, wear a mask and social distance,” said Smith. “It’s the least you can do for your fellow man.”

Commissioner Drew Griffin said a review of building fees shows many of them date to the late 1960s.

“They are unrealistically behind,” said Griffin, adding he plans to introduce a revised fee schedule at a future council meeting.

Griffin emphasized the anticipated new fee structure will not be onerous because

revenue producing effort, and there is no desire to make the fees so expensive residents cannot afford to improve their properties. He said the changes will be in line with what neighboring communities charge.

“It will be a flat fee,” said Griffin. “We’ve supplied a code officer all of these years to enforce the ordinances, and we need to update what we charge for that service.”

The business portion of the meeting moved quickly with approvals to pay: $5,000 as the city’s reimbursement toward the county’s animal control officer; a reimbursement of $5,276 for the county’s Civil Defense fund; $1,133 to install a prisoner cage in one of the police department vehicles; $29,911 to Feutz Contractors for repairs to Crawford Street; and authorized a new three-year contract with Central States Fireworks to do the Independence Day fireworks show in the city.

City manager Michael Martin explained the new contract with Central States moves the fireworks display in Paris to July 4 for the years of 2021, 2022 and 2023. The city is committed to pay $10,000 each year. He added there is no provision in the contract for an annual percentage increase resulting in a higher fee from one show to the next.