New fire station, new makerspace, and fiber network among topics for next Decatur City Council meeting
The next meeting of the Decatur City Council will take place on Monday, April 19 at 5:30 PM. The meeting has 16 agenda items including next steps in the building of a new Fire Station 7, a lease agreement for a makerspace, and the purchase of 6 police vehicles and 3 vehicles for sewer jetting, vacuuming, and excavating. In addition, the monthly police and fire department reports, and affiliated statistics, highlight an increase in the number of shootings and fire alarm calls in 2021.
FIRE STATION 7 TAKES STEP CLOSER TO BEING REPLACED
The city council will likely authorize a professional services agreement for the design, bidding, and construction oversight of a new Fire Station 7 (the fire station currently located at the Decatur airport). From a public safety perspective, Fire Station 7 needs to be replaced. It is not in a centralized location for its service area, and if it is relocated, response times will be reduced potentially saving lives.
MAKERSPACE TO OCCUPY 2ND FLOOR OF LIBRARY
A makerspace is a place for gathering, learning, exploring, and making, and are often associated with skills and small business training, as well as product innovation and development. The city council is likely to approve a lease agreement for a new makerspace in the Decatur Public Library building. The first project of Thinkwell Makerspace Industries will be a summer camp for entrepreneurs and individuals interested in starting their own venture.
STATE FUNDING ALLOWS CITY TO EXPAND FIBER INTRASTRUCTURE
Thanks to funding from the State of Illinois, the city will be able to extend its fiber infrastructure to three city firehouses. In addition, the city is highly likely to approve an intergovernmental agreement with Decatur Public Schools for city fiber infrastructure to be extended to school district properties. Currently, the city owns and operates a 144-strand fiber infrastructure which provides a high-speed telecommunications network used by the city, schools, and institutions of higher education among others.
SHOOTINGS INCREASE 52% IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2021
Last year, the City of Decatur experienced a 104% increase in the number of shootings compared to 2019. Over the first three months of 2021, the number of shootings increased 52% from 27 in 2020 to 41 in 2021. While shootings have increased in the city, the number of calls for service to the Police Department was down 13% from January to March from 13,400 in 2020 to 11,680 in 2021. On the contrary, the Fire Department has experienced a 6% increase in the number of alarms it has responded to Jan.-Mar. 2021 (n=2,781) compared to 2020 (n=2,613).
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS
Meetings take place at the Theater located on the second floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.