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Collinsville Swears in New Deputy Chief Training Officer and Approves Renovation of Training Room

By Deveser Ursery

The Collinsville City Council Meeting began on Tuesday, June 28, by swearing in new Deputy Chief Safety Training Officer Larry Conley and Mayor John Miller proclaiming July as Parks and Recreations Month.

Collinsville Fire Chief John Bailot spoke highly of Chief Conley before introducing him to the mayor for the swearing in ceremony, commenting on his overwhelming experience and knowledge of fire service and safety.

“… Chief Conley was with the St. Louis City Fire Department for 30 years. He retired as captain of one of the busiest stations in the city to come work for us, that says a lot,” said Bailot. “He brings a ton of experience that is hard to come by. Chief Conley holds a bachelor’s degree in Fire Service Administration and he is responsible for training hundreds of recruits for the St. Louis City Fire Department coming through the academy.”

Chief Conley was Past Director-at-Large with the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and he is the creator of G.L.U.E. Personal Leadership Course., according to Fire Engineering, a premier publication for the fire service profession.

Before swearing in Chief Conley, Mayor Miller spoke of the respect and admiration that a lot of people feel for Conley by the showing of support that was present at the ceremony on his behalf sayin, “It very, very befitting to see the people that respect Chief Conley, otherwise they wouldn’t be here.”

“We here in the city of Collinsville and especially myself, a retired firefighter of 31 years knows what training is and know what we need more of in the fire service to protect not only our residents, but the firefighters themselves. Unfortunately too many firefighters and police officers are dying, losing their lives in the pursuit of saving the citizenry of our communities, and it takes people with the fortitude of Chief Conley to bring that safety issue to the memberships and teach it so that it’s ingrained in our livelihood….” said Mayor Miller.

Conley was joined by his mother Ms. Elaine, two daughters Courtland and Christine, and son Joshua in the traditional swearing ceremony. He chose his mother for the pinning of his badge and received his white helmet from his daughters.

The House of Representatives designated July as parks and Recreations Month. From the proclamation, Mayor Miller read, that parks and recreation are an integral part of communities throughout the country, including the city of Collinsville and that they are vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in our communities, ensuring the health of all citizens, and contributing to the economic and environmental well-being of a community and region. The proclamation also stated that park and recreation programs build healthy, active communities that aid in the prevention of chronic disease, provide therapeutic recreation services for those who are mentally or physically disabled, and also improve the mental and emotional health of all citizens. They also increase the community’s  economic prosperity through increased property value, expansion of the local tax base, increased tourism, the attraction and retention of businesses, and crime reduction. The proclamation also stated that parks and natural recreation areas are fundamental to the environmental well-being of our communities because these areas improve water quality, protect groundwater, prevent flooding, improve the quality of the air that we breathe, provide vegitative buffers to development, and produce habitat for wildlife. Parks and natural recreation areas ensure the ecological beauty of our community and provide a place for children and adults to connect with nature and recreate outdoors.

There was only one item of business prior to public input and that was the ordinance rezoning real estate property owned by Gore Creek Capital 1, LLC from “B-3” Expressway Service Commercial District to “P-CP-1” Planned Commercial Park District, namely 300 North Bluff Road. The subject property is 2.54 acres in size and is currently vacant. The site was previously used as a single-family residence with three accessory structures. The proposed site plan entails for 1.43 of the subject property to be developed into a 3,666 square foot Circle K Gas Station and Convenience Store.

Mayor Miller commented on how successful the first Maryville Farmer’s Market of the season was saying, “It just was unbelievable. There was a large crowd at the Farmer’s Market and they had great food.” The mayor was asked by the manager of the Farmer’s Market if he knew of anyone in the community that could benefit from the funds collected from the mart and Mayor Miller suggested that the funds be donated to the Collinsville Food Pantry. “I think the Food Pantry is doing everything it can to stay a float, it would benefit them greatly.”

Director of Parks and Recreations, Kimberly Caughran spoke of upcoming events and programs that will be happening this summer. Caughran announced that the city of Collinsville is celebrating its 150 birthday by having a candle hunt. “There are different candles up all over the community and we asking that residents participating in the event take pictures with the candles with hashtag #Collinsville150, so that we can search for them online”, said Caughran. She also spoke of events that are happening at the Aqua Park like, Movie at the Aqua Park Christmas in July with the showing of ‘Elf’. In addition to swimming lessons there will be adult programming as well like Lap Swim, Workout Wednesdays, River Walk, and Water Aerobics.

Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Reis spoke of the fire department’s two newest initiatives, its partnership with the local Faith In Action and its Ride Along Program. Faith. The mission of Faith In Action is to put faith into action by serving neighbors 60 years of age and older and persons with disabilities throughout the community with door-to-door, no-cost services to support their independence.

“The Ride Along Initiative is meant to increase the interested individuals’ awareness of the services that Collinsville Fire Department provides and how those services are delivered,” said Reis. “It is intended to provide an educational experience for those seeking to gain more knowledge in the career field of firefighting and Emergency Medical Services. Having direct input when I worked with Collinsville High School, this program is what we hoped would be a stepping stone for the next generation of firefighters.”

The Council approved the payment of city bills for the period ending June 17,in the amount of $1,530,0667.97 and payroll for the period ending June 10, in the amount of $901,262.79. Next on the agenda was the reappointing of members  Brion Brown,Sr. and Ken Jones to the Community Appearance Board and a resolution requesting the permission from IDOT to close  Main Street for Smokin’ On Main.

On the agenda for new business is the resolution to appoint Lisa Brennan to the Community Appearance Board.

The Board also approved an ordinance to remodel the police training room/city emergency operations center with the cost not exceeding no more $1120,000.00.

An ordinance to award a bid and authorize contract to JP Burns Excavating Inc., in the amount of $215,091.00 for the Jefferson School Detention Project.

Items five and six of the new business agenda was an ordinance adopting a liquor code providing for the regulation of alcoholic liquors in the city of Collinsville and an ordinance amending fees and fines of the Collinsville Municipal Code and providing for a class 1 liquor license fees.

The final item of the night was an ordinance authorizing the city manager to sign a real estate purchase contract for 801 W. Main Street .

The Collinsville City Council will have its next meeting on July 12, at 6:30 p.m.

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