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Village might target ‘criminal problems’ on properties

Grass clippings blown onto streets also discussed

HENNEPIN — After the recent adoption of an ordinance targeting abandoned and derelict properties, the Hennepin Board is also considering the adoption of a nuisance ordinance focused on properties where there’s been ongoing criminal activity.

Village attorney Sheryl Churney said it was similar to ordinances used by Streator, Peoria and a number of other area communities.

“It would encourage landlords to work with the police to abate ongoing criminal problems at their properties,” she said during the June 19 meeting.

She said no one had yet been penalized under the Streator ordinance, but added the city has found it a useful tool. The ordinance would be triggered through court adjudications or police reports if there are three or more certain listed offenses committed at the property within a year.

“I’d think if you’re a responsible landlord, this would be a positive thing,” board member Lynn Haage said.

The board is studying the details of the ordinance and will continue to discuss its possible adoption at future meetings.

Abandoned property

Churney said a notice has been sent to the property owner of the abandoned house at 511 E. Sycamore St., but added the 30-day period to allow the owner to take action had not yet expired.

“I’m hoping to hear they’ll convey the title to the village through a quit claim deed. However, I’ve been hearing rumors it may be sold. But if it’s not, we’re still ready to proceed,” she told the board.

Village improvements

The board approved the $29,000 final payment to Advanced Asphalt for their work on last year’s street improvement project.

The board approved work to improve the inlet drain at 11th Street and Morine Drive.

The board approved painting the floors of the park bathrooms prior to July 4.

Village engineer Bill Shafer reported the work to replace the riverfront stairs would begin after the Fourth of July celebration.

The board discussed the possible addition of a stop sign at the intersection of Sixth and Mulberry streets.

The installation of a yield sign at Sycamore and Second streets was approved. Traffic on Second Street will yield to Sycamore Street traffic.

The board approved the continuance of the tree care program from Taylor’s Way.

Grass clippings

Despite regular requests from the board for people to not blow grass clippings into the street, many residents continue to do so.

“We’ve been hounding on this for years, but it’s still happening. This isn’t just so the clippings don’t fill the catch basins of our storm drains, it’s also a safety issue,” Mayor Kevin Coleman said.

Coleman then spoke of recent motorcycle fatalities that were linked to grass clippings that had been blown onto roadways.

Board member Quentin Buffington proposed that a $500 fine would quickly put an end to the practice, but the board will be looking into a way to post brightly colored “shame notices” at violators’ homes.

Fireworks show

Last year’s fireworks show during the “Thunder on the Illinois” Fourth of July celebration was rained out until the following day. Board member Scott Mennie reported he was recently told by the fireworks company that some of those shells had been damaged by the rain. To compensate the village, they’ve announced they’re going to provide several larger, 12-inch shells to be detonated during this year’s fireworks show.

The larger shells are several inches larger than those typically used at the Hennepin show. They’ll be rising to nearly a thousand feet into the sky, several hundred feet higher than usual.

The explosion diameter will also be substantially larger at up to 840 feet, hundreds of feet larger than what’s normally seen.

In other news

• The board approved a $100 donation to the PC Athletic Boosters Golf Outing.

• The easement agreement between KCK and the village, in regards to the footbridge project into the wetlands, has been approved by both sides.

• The board is reviewing the village’s tentative budget.

The next Hennepin Village Board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. July 17.

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