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Committees, commissions and boards, oh my!

Mayor, council members report on activities and plans of city-sponsored groups

PRINCETON — Shortly after he was elected to a second term, Mayor Joel Quiram asked his fellow city council members to represent the city on a board or commission of their choice.

Quiram chose the street concert committee, Ray Swanson the Historic Preservation Commission, Ray Mabry the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, Hector Gomez the Public Arts Commission, and Jerry Neumann chose three boards: Prince­ton Public Library Board, Owen Lovejoy Homestead Board and the Perry Memorial Hospital Board.

The idea was that the council members would present every other month a brief update on projects the commissions or boards were discussing in their meetings.

Monday, Aug. 5, was the first time council members presented. Here’s a summary of what they said:

Street concerts committee

Quiram said this year’s concerts have been challenged by the weather.

“If it hasn’t been rain, it’s been extreme heat,” he said.

He is hopeful the weather for next Friday’s concert (on Aug. 16 featuring Phanie Rae and the Soul Shakers) is favorable.

The concert committee is in the middle of a fundraising campaign to purchase a used stage for future concert series. Quiram said the committee has raised about $6,000 of a $15,000 goal. The committee recently launched an online campaign on the Princeton Tourism website where people can donate to help with the purchase.

The committee is also already booking bands for next year’s concert series.

Historic Preservation

Swanson said the commission is working on a design for building marker plaques, which will be for sale to building owners in the historic district. The plaques would display the year the building was built and what it was initially used for.

Swanson said the commission is also looking to start up a building facade improvement grant program for Main Street business owners and looking for ways to fund it.

They have also discussed improvement plans for brick streets throughout the city so that it would help extend the life of them.

The commission has also talked about signage on Interstate 80, coming into Princeton, for the north and south Main Street shopping districts.

Bicycle and Pedestrian

Mabry said the commission is working on a grant for a bike path that would be laid out by the Red Covered Bridge and is conducting a walkability study through the city.

Mabry said the commission did not meet in July as many of the members were busy preparing for the annual Z Tour Bike Ride, which drew more than 700 riders despite the high heat index that day.

Public Arts Commission

Gomez said the commission is still fundraising for the mosaic art project that will soon be displayed in the Mary Uthoff Memorial Walkway.

The commission was recently awarded a grant to purchase bike racks for the city. Gomez said the commission is also looking for new ideas for additional art projects that can be displayed in Princeton.

Princeton Public Library Board

Neumann reported new air conditioning units had been installed, inspected and were up and working in time for the summer.

Also, the library’s computer area got an upgrade. The carpet was torn up and replaced with hard-surface flooring.

Neumann said the library cafe continues to do better each month with more people spending time there. He added they are always looking for corporate sponsorships, which help offset the costs of the library.

A new assistant librarian was hired this summer, and the library is currently upgrading its donor wall.

Owen Lovejoy Homestead

Neumann reported the board of trustees has hired a landscaping company to replace the brick pathway outside the home. The plan is to improve the walkway by using bricks salvaged from the Euclid Avenue reconstruction project.

The board also has bids out to repaint the homestead before winter sets in.

Neumann said the trustees are also looking for new guides, which is a part-time paid position by the city. He added that visitors have increased this year compared to years past, and a larger staff is needed to keep up with the tours.

Perry Memorial Hospital Board

The biggest news coming out of Perry right now is the city council’s approval of the memorandum of understanding that gives the hospital board the go-ahead to continue partnership talks with OSF.

Neumann said other than that news, several noteworthy additions at Perry are the cardiac rehabilitation center and the new interpreting service for foreign-speaking patients.

“I think this is a great idea, and I’m sure from time to time (Perry) encounters people who come in and have difficulty communicating. This service helps with that problem,” he said.

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