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Collinsville preparing for Fire Station No. 2 relocation

By Devese “Dee” Ursery

The Collinsville city council meeting on July 25 offered a lengthy discussion about phase one of the Fire Station No. 2 Relocation project.

The meeting started off discussing permit fees for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Results from the National Community Survey were also discussed at the meeting as well. Members also took care of general house-keeping in the way of paying bills, city salaries and recording meeting minutes. 

After months of discussion, steps are now in play for phase one of the fire station No. 2 relocation project, which is the design portion of the project. Mayor Stehman signed an agreement with Archimages to provide preliminary space programming, concept design, site evaluation and conceptual costs for the relocation of fire station No.2. 

Chief John Bailot, Collinsville Fire Department explained the basics of phase one and its importance.

“So basically what it’s gonna do; it’s gonna get us to assume approval, from approval and agreement up to the point where we have a basic layout of the fire station,” Bailot said. “A basic design, so that it can be placed on various different properties that we’re gonna be looking at to see that it fits.”

Bailot said Archimages would help with that property, making sure it’s right to be built on. At the end, there will be conceptual costs based off of the square footage to give the City an idea of costs. Those costs would include soft and hard costs, he said

“So what we’re looking for from Arcimaging at the end of this particular phase, is a dollar amount,” Bailot said. “So it’ll be not really a ballpark, but it’s based off of square footage. It’s a not to exceed agreement of $38,400. The budget is fine there, we have funds in the CIP to handle fire station design.”

Bailot explained that they went through several requests for qualification, which is typically used as a screening step to establish a pool of vendors. 

“We sent several requests for qualifications when we talked about architectural services. It’s a request for qualification versus proposals to work through that process,” Bailot said. “We sent out several, we got nine back. We got a committee together, went through those nine and Archimages came out as the number one recommended architectural firm for us to go forward with phase one of the project.”

Bailot said Archimages is a Metro-St. Louis area firm that brings a wealth of experience to the design phase of this project. They have completed over 70 fire station constructions and 200 municipal facilities and with the institutional knowledge their team has it will help us avoid unwanted mistakes, Bailot said. 

Phase one is the first step in the Fire Department Master Plan for the relocation of Fire Station No. 2.

The council approved the authorization of payment for the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit fee to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The cost of the permit is $32,500 which is to be paid out annually. 

According to official reports, all wastewater treatment facilities “point source” that discharge into a body of water within the United States are required by the Clean Water Act, 1972, to obtain a NPDES permit. 

William Jones, utilities superintendent, said the permit establishes limits on contaminants that can be discharged, monitoring and recording requirements to ensure the discharge does not impact water quality or the people’s health. rep.

“Without the permit we can’t discharge anything, so it must be passed,” Jones said 

Jessica Short, assistant to the city manager gave an overview of the results for the 2023 National Community Survey. She said it is a tool that communities can elect to engage in to basically capture their resident’s experience with living in their community. 

“So we not only have participated in this study in years past 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2019, but also the survey collects data nationwide and then we have the ability to compare our results to national results, those are referred to as benchmarks,” Short said.

Short went over three core areas in regards to the NCS: the resident’s overall confidence in governance, our overall quality of life and then “facets of livability.”  The survey is done by POLCO and it will run from the end of March to early May of this year. 

“The survey was originally sent to random households by postcard in the mail and then we did open it up to public input, in an open survey through social media and through our website online,” Short said. “All of our results were weighted to reflect our actual population’s demographic as well. We had 366 responses.”

The first topic, residents’ confidence in governance is made up of a variety of factors: customer service, citizen’s perception of the value of their taxes paid, public communication and other governmental aspects. Short said of the 366 respondents, 43 percent rated the city of Collinsville as excellent or good. This figure did decrease from 2019, but it is similar to national benchmarks so we are performing in this regard similar to other communities throughout the country, she said. 

During her presentation, Short said in comparison from the 2019 survey, it showed a three percent decrease in percentage points from 47 down to 43 percent. She said highlights on the governance topic, all of the questions were rated similar to the national benchmark. 

In the next topic, 74 percent of respondents rated the overall quality of life in Collinsville as excellent or good. That number increased nine percentage points from 65 percent in 2019.

Highlights from the topic, Collinsville as a place to live, a place to remain for the next five years and the overall image and reputation were rated lower than the benchmark. Short said, that means the city of Collinsville is at least 10 percentage points higher than what the national benchmark is. 

The final topic, “facets of livability” and respondents rated these in order that was important to them. Short’s list consisted of safety, economic health, utility infrastructure, natural environment, parks and recreation, education, arts and culture, health and wellness, connection and engagement, transportation/mobility and city and community design. She said all of the facets of livability were below the national benchmark except, ease of travel by public transit and bus/transit services, which rated higher than the benchmark. 

“With relation to our strategic plan many of the areas that were highlighted in the National Community Survey as needing improvement or being high priority to our residents, we’ve already identified in the strategic plan and we’re actively working on them,” Short said. Specifically goals three, to encourage tourism and economic development; goal four, invest in public infrastructure; goal five, provide quality parks and park facilities and goal six, keep Collinsville safe.”

Short said the city’s next steps will be publishing the results of the NCS on the city’s website, as well as on social media. These results will also be figured into the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan city staff is actively working on. 

Derek Jackson, interim city manager, made a couple of quick announcements and addressed questions from a resident who spoke in opposition to the validity of the NCS results. He announced that the Smokin’ On Main BBQ Competition will take place the weekend of July 29-30, in Uptown Collinsville. He also informed the council that the city of Collinsville has a few teams participating in the contest.

“We have the police department, we have the fire department and city hall. So there’s gonna be a lot of bragging rights after the BBQ competition is done,” Jackson said.

Next, Jackson gave an update related to the storm limb pick-up initiative the city has been doing this month as a result of that July 1 storm. He said the service will end some time in July, but they will be putting out information for the public on their website at or residents can call the hotline at 618-346-5200 ext. 1125.  

Troy Turner, city engineer, gave a quick update on flood mapping in the region. He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued the city new flood insurance rate maps for review. There are some major changes to the flood maps, some property owners who are not required to have flood insurance, will now be required to have flood insurance. There are properties that currently don’t have a floodway, but a floodway would be on the properties now.  

Turner said city staff is in the process of comparing them to what the existing and proposed maps are. Back in the 2006-2007 time frame most communities switched over to what we call a digital firm, which is a much more detailed flood map with more information. The city of Collinsville was using the older 1980s version until the switch. 

There will be more information coming out with a larger discussion about this later on about what all this entails, how it affects city residents and what options they and the city have. 

Kimberly Caughran, parks and recreation director announced that there are three weeks remaining to enjoy full-time operation hours at the Aqua Park. 

“Starting on the 13th, which is a Sunday, we’ll go down to weekends only at the Aqua Park,” Caughran said. “Most of our staff goes back to school and so it will just be doing weekends only, the Labor Day weekend, closing on September 4 of this season.

During the meeting, the Community Appearance Board awarded Connie and Steve Garland of 210 Keeneland Court first place winners of the Yard of the Month for July.  Sherry and Lindell Oliver of 15 White Lily Drive were recognized as the second place winners.

A motion was approved for the payment of city bills for the period ending July 14, in the amount of $567,946. Another motion was approved for city payroll for the period ending July 7, in the amount of $986,149. They also approved minutes from the July 11, city council meeting. 

There were also several ordinances authorizing annexation agreements which were all approved during the council meeting. The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 6:30 p.m. 




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