MORTON — An ordinance that lists rules and regulations for the use of the village's new downtown plaza was approved unanimously Monday by the Village Board.
"We've been thinking about what to put in this ordinance for several years, ever since it was certain the plaza was going to be built," said Morton Police Chief Craig Hilliard, who will play an important role in the approval process for a permit that will be needed to hold an organized event in the plaza.
Events listed in the ordinance include a parade, rally, entertainment, exhibit, bazaar, ceremony, storytelling, poetry reading and sports event "at which more than 12 persons may be reasonably expected to be in attendance."
The permit will not be transferrable and the permit fee — which has not been determined — is not refundable.
The permit holder will be responsible for any loss, damage or injury during an event, must obtain general liability insurance that is acceptable to the village, and make a $250 deposit that will be used to reimburse the village for cleaning or maintenance if the plaza isn't restored "to a like condition" as it was prior to the event.
The deposit will be returned to the permit holder if the village doesn't need it.
An additional permit fee will be assessed if the police chief decides it's necessary to hire auxiliary police to assure public safety.
The $1.8 million village-owned plaza, located off North Main Street south of Washington Street, has lights, water, electricity and a sound system for events.
The newly passed ordinance also has a list of prohibited activities in the plaza. Among the banned activities are smoking, riding a bicycle, skateboard or scooter, possession of a firearm or glass bottle, and the consumption, possession and sale of alcoholic beverages.
The centerpiece of the plaza is a veterans memorial. The plaza also has a fountain, public restrooms, drinking fountain for dogs, free WiFi, pumpkin-themed play structures for children, and shaded tables and benches.
Morton business district sales tax revenue and private donations financed the construction and furnishing of the plaza, which opened unofficially in April and was dedicated on Memorial Day.
Also Monday, Village Board trustees:
* Approved the village tourism grant committee's recommendation to give the annual Kids' Muddy Madness for St. Jude and Rock the Farm events each a $2,500 grant. Tourism grants are funded with hotel/motel tax revenue.
* Approved a $5,500 donation to Morton VFW Post 5921 for the post's annual Fourth of July fireworks show. This year's show will be July 3.
* Approved moving the board's regularly scheduled meeting July 3 to July 5 because of the fireworks show.
* Approved Macomb-based Laverdiere Construction's low bid of $615,373 for improvements on First Avenue.
* Approved East Peoria-based C&G Concrete Construction's low bid of $600,000 for concrete repairs around town..
* Approved Tremont-based R.A. Cullinan & Son's bid of $466,026 for street overlay work around town.
* Approved an ordinance amendment that allows a firearm resale shop or a firearm firing range as a special use in a general business district or restricted industrial district. The amendment does not allow a firearm store or firearm firing range as a home business.
* Approved a 4-year contract extension from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2022, to purchase electricity for village property from Calpine Corporation. The charge will drop from $42.50 to $34.48 per megawatt hour for 80 percent of the cost. The remaining 20 percent of the cost will be electricity purchased one day ahead for on- and off-peak hours. Also, the cost does not include a service charge.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.