In-Lake Dam Moves to Design Phase, Council Also Approves New Liquor Licenses

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 9, 2021 at 10:55am

The City of Jacksonville is taking another step toward improving Lake Mauvaisterre.

The Jacksonville City Council is continuing to explore the options for construction of an in-lake sediment dam for Lake Mauvaisterre aimed at improving the water quality and preventing heavy maintenance down the road.

Th Council approved a resolution last night accepting an engineering proposal on the project. Jamie Headen with Benton & Associates says the planning for the potential dam won’t be a quick process.

Tonight the council agreed to start the design process on the 3-19 grant with the Illinois E.P.A. It will be about a two year design process of working through the different options as far as what the potential is for sediment reduction in the lake.

One of the reasons it’s about a two year process is to make sure we can have enough time to get permitting complete. Permitting can take a bit longer for these types of items. So we get that done and give everyone a chance to kind of look at what the potential is over that time period, and then the council can decide at the end of that design period if they want to move into construction and what the future of that might be.”

In January the City Council approved a resolution for an intergovernmental grant agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency that splits the cost of funding, design, and permitting phases of the project. The intergovernmental grant is a 50 50 split between the city and IEPA.

Headen says the main reason for the project is long term water quality.

Not too long ago the city dredged a portion of the lake. Now there is additional work to be done in addition to the watershed mitigation that’s been done to potentially catch the sediment before it gets into the main part of the lake, to give the city a location to provide maintenance in the future. It would really improve the water quality for downstream in the creek but also in the water treatment plant.

Gennerally speaking the dam would be located towards the easterly side of the lake. Exactly where is definitely part of the design process. But in this case it’s not only where the in-lake dam might go to be the most efficient. But also if we need to dredge additional locations on the upstream side of the dam, where do we go with that disposal? What are the options there? It’s kind of a multilevel look at how this process might be.”

In other business last night, the council approved liquor licenses for the Rivers Edge Winery and the McClellan Hall banquet facility owned by Mike Hayes. A license was also approved for the Cork and Crown Boutique for retail sales and some consupmtion on site.

City Attorney Dan Beard updated the council that research is currently under way in developing a boutique liquor license as well as a micro brewer’s type license to better fit buisneeses such as the Cork and Crown where minor consumption such as wine tastings could be offered.

The brewers license would better fit the River’s Edge Winery where the wine is both made and consumed on site.

Beard says as the process goes forward, the idea is to allow both businesses to convert their now existing licenses going forward.

The council also heard a first reading of an ordinance to amend the alcoholic beverages municipal code which would lower the age allowed for servers in restaurants able to serve beverages from 19 to 18.

The proposed change was brought on by several businesses in the city who have want to expand the possible pool of employees. Beard says many have expressed concern over difficulties restaurants are having in the city with retaining enough help.

The first reading passed the council vote with all members voting in favor, except for Ward 3 Alderman Brandon Adams who voted present.