For 24 years the Village of Wilsonville sponsored Independence Day fireworks displays without having purchased liability insurance.
“Our insurance about had a fit when they saw that,” Village President Jeff Rhodes told village trustees during the regular monthly meeting of the board Tuesday night. Rhodes said he purchased a policy through the Illinois Municipal League’s shared risk program at a cost of $1,000 to cover this year’s fireworks display. “Apparently for the last 24 years when we had fireworks we didn’t have any insurance. If a house burns down or someone gets hurt, we’d be liable.”
“Do you need a motion (to approve the purchase),” Trustee Roland Rife asked.
“I already bought it,” Rhodes said. “It was either that or not have the Fourth of July.”
The Fourth of July celebration is an annual tradition in Wilsonville. Featuring food, beverages, games and children’s activities, this year’s celebration also will be an observance of the village’s centennial. Rhodes told trustees that trophies have been purchased to be presented to winners of the washers tournament and corn hole tourney. Youngsters going through an inflatable obstacle course also will be eligible for awards, and Rhodes said he purchased participation ribbons “so every kid that goes through that will get something.”
The celebration will conclude with a firework display. Licensed pyrotechnical Karl Pachesa of Wilsonville will ignite the display as a volunteer. Rhodes said Pachesa is retired and while he has insurance for himself, he doesn’t provide insurance coverage for the village.
Rhodes also reported he made an emergency expenditure of $4,256.20 to address a faulty air release valve that was causing raw sewage to leak out of a manhole on the Bob Wilhoit property on Liberty Street.
“Bob called me and said we had sewage leaking out of a manhole,” Rhodes said. He said he took the manhole cover off and found the manhole itself filled with sewage. White Sanitation was hired to pump out the sewage to give workers access to the sewer to find the problem which turned out to be an air release valve with several holes in it. Parts, labor and pumping totaled $4,256.20.
Newly elected Trustee Bill Molinar suggested having trustees periodically check manholes to see that they are functioning properly. Rhodes agreed in principle but said checking the manholes might not have avoided the problem. “The blueprints don’t show an air release valve there,” he said. “I didn’t even know there was a manhole there. Bob didn’t either.”
During a discussion regarding needed repairs at Shady Oak Park, the board voted unanimously to give Molinar permission to work with volunteers to clean and refurbish the old fish fryer with an eye toward having a fish fry at some future date. “It won’t be this year, maybe next year,” Molinar said.
The board voted unanimously to give permission to to clean and refurbish the old fish fryer with an eye toward having a fish fry at some future date
“I’ve talked to people around town and they really don’t want to see the fish stand go away,” Molinar said. “Don’t ask me why, but I’m a fan of it, too.”
The park used to be the setting for annual fish fry sponsored by the city but it has been a number of years since the building or the fryer has been used. Molinar said the building needs some repairs, including repairs to the roof. He said he also has investigated repairing the bingo stand and believes it can be addressed by patching the roof as opposed to a complete re-roofing project.
Per Molinar’s request, Rhodes reported he contacted the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding water standing on the highway following heavy rains. He said state officials did not offer any immediate solution.
Molinar said he believes some of the problem may be due to blockages in a drainage ditch to the north of the highway. The debris, he said, dropped into the ditch during tree trimming activities undertaken by Ameren. He suggested having a work day for trustees and volunteers to clean out the debris and see it that improves water flow.
“I’d give a day or two,” Molinar said. “it doesn’t both me.”
“We’ll do that, then,” Rhodes responded. “We’ll make a work day.”
“There’s water problems all over town,” Molinar said. “We need to take care of them.”
Rhodes also reported that the village purchased $192 worth of landscaping stones that Dianne Sloan will use to re-landscape around a sign within the triangle at the north end of Wilson Street.