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Morrison council talks over options for new public works building

MORRISON -- The Morrison City Council on Monday continued discussions of a potential new public works building, but made no move to advance the project.

The Fleet and Facilities Committee is looking at several plans for a public works building, including concepts for four different approaches.

One would build a public services building at the site of the old salt shed in Grove Hill Cemetery as a new headquarters of the Public Services Department while also using the city's existing Norrish Road building to house snowplowing operations and for storage.

A second concept would also use the Norrish Road building for those same operations while building a new facility at the wastewater treatment plant for public services.

A third concept would headquarter public services at Grove Hill, but instead of using the Norrish facility would build a new headquarters for snowplowing operations at the wastewater treatment plant.

A fourth proposal would build one large, all-encompassing facility at the wastewater plant and abandon the Norrish building.

Though there seemed to be some support on the council for the new building at the cemetery, Mayor R. Everett Pannier cautioned that members of the committee needed to sit down with public works employees to hash out any concerns they might have.

The council also unanimously voted to make the corner of Madison and Knox streets, near the Whiteside County Sheriff's Office, a four-way stop. Council members had at previous meetings expressed concerns over how dangerous that intersection was, and on Monday Morrison Police Chief Brian Melton told the council that he had gotten feedback supporting the move.

In addition, three parking spots near the intersection will be removed and turned into a loading zone.

Morrison also will apply for funds through the state's Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Support (CURE) Program. Those funds would reimburse the city for money spent early in the pandemic to buy things like face masks and hand sanitizer, though it would not fill any gaps in money coming in through things like lost sales tax revenue.

The city also completed the transfer of some land to the Morrison school district, which will be turned into 22 additional parking spots for Northside Elementary School.

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