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Collinsville Fire Chief Kevin Edmond Resigns To Take Job At Larger Fire Department

By Stephanie Malench

The Collinsville City Council met at the Gateway Convention Center on February 9 and started the meeting by recognizing Collinsville Fire Chief Kevin Edmond for his four years of service to the community and his professionalism to the community.

Edmond resigned on January 14 to become the chief at the much larger Sterling Heights, MI Fire Department. Deputy Fire Chief John Bailot was promoted to Chief and the city passed an ordinance authorizing City Manager Mitch Bair to execute an agreement with Gov HR to select a new Deputy Fire Chief.

Mayor John Miller commended Edmond for his service, saying that Collinsville’s loss is Sterling Height’s gain. Bair told Edmond “you left the department in significantly better shape than you found it in”. Each councilman praised Edmond on the level of professionalism he brought to the department and that will remain even with his departure.

During public comment, Lieutenant Arnold simply said that last year he told Edmond “give me a reason to stay beyond my 20-year mark”. He is still with the department.

City Engineer Troy Turner provided an update to the council on the status of several road projects scheduled over the next few years and projected costs/funding.

The first project is the Sugar Loaf Road Reconstruction project from Route 157 up the hill. Construction is set to begin in July of this year and will cost $569,930 with $294,930 coming from the city’s motor fuel tax funds. Phase 1 will continue in summer of 2022 to the other end at Keebler and will cost $447,748 with the city’s portion being $150,000 from motor fuel tax funds.

Phase 1 of the Bluffview reconstruction project is scheduled to take place this summer using Rebuild Illinois grant funds totaling $935,000.

The Summit Avenue reconstruction project is currently in the design phase to begin in the summer of 2023. The project will include sidewalks, shared use path, and new pavement. Estimated costs for Phase 1 are $818,850 and Phase 2 will be $513,000.

A cluster of projects in the St. Louis Road and Collinsville Avenue corridor were also discussed. The new public parking lot and reconfiguration of the St. Louis Rd/Bond Avenue intersection is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022. The project includes replacing two sewers from the early 1900s with one 16-inch water main. The estimated cost of the project is $756,000.

The summer of 2024 will see a roundabout constructed at Caseyville Road and St. Louis Road for an estimated $1,472,150 and the new St. Louis Road Streetscape that will include sidewalks, lighting, on street parking, and a new sewer line for $1,472,150 with all but $254,430 being sought from Federal funds.

During comments from the Mayor, Miller remembered Collinsville icons Bogie Redmon, Mike Foley, and Rocky Lane who had recently passed away, Miller remarked that a whole generation of Collinsville greats is coming to an end.

The Collinsville Business Relief Fund Program recently awarded 24 grants to priority one businesses to help recover from COVID-19 shutdowns, including restaurants, hospitality, and salon businesses. The state awarded $509,651 to the City to give out. The highest grant given was $25,000 and the lowest was $6,079.08. The average funding awarded was $21,235.46.

Another round of $625,000 is scheduled to be available on a first come first serve basis with new applications still being accepted.

An ordinance was approved allowing Mayor Miller to execute an agreement with Central States Fireworks for $25,625 to host a fireworks display on Sunday, May 30 at the Aqua Park. The fireworks will be synched to music.

Another ordinance was passed retroactively authorizing the emergency purchase of a backup solution, switch, and server upgrades for the city hall data center. The upgrades were necessary after the backup system went down the first part of 2020 and ransomware attacks went up 43% last year according to a national study.

The package cost $161,253.38 and the city has also obtained cyberinsurance.

Police Chief Steve Evans made a request of the city council authorizing the purchase and installation of license plate reader cameras for main St. at Route 159. Since the other cameras were installed across town from March of last year through December, nine stole vehicles were recovered, a suspect in a local murder and a suspect from Champaign County were caught and 33 arrests were made on 27 “hits” from the camera sent to police.

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