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Joliet Government Newsletter Sample: New chairwoman looks forward to landmarks and tours

Editor's Note: This content first appeared in our Joliet City Government Insider newsletter. Each Friday, our Bob Okon sends out this insider's perspective on what's going on in Joliet city government and how it affects you.

If you like what you read, consider signging up here. It's free.

Sara Stovall was elected chairwoman of the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission this week.

Stovall is among several commission members who joined up in 2016 at a time when the panel was looking for help. The 12-member commission was down to six. It's now back to 12.

She also is co-president of the St. John's Neighborhood Organization.

Long-time commission member Sharon Merwin was elected vice-chairwoman when the commission elected new officers at its meeting Wednesday.

Stovall said the commission is "focused on adding additional landmarks. We're also excited about doing another walk like we did last year with the limestone tour."

The commission in May teamed up with the Joliet Area Historical Museum to provide a tour of four of Joliet's limestone landmark buildings. Stovall said the commission has not yet decided the subject of this year's tour and it will occur sometime when the weather warms up.

The landmark push may have had a setback when the city council recently voted to remove landmark status from a building at 509 Plainfield Road so the owner could install vinyl siding. Stovall said the commission plans to issue a statement at some point on the matter.

Prison: buy or lease?

Economic Development Director Steve Jones said he'd like the city to make a decision in two years on whether to buy the Old Joliet Prison.

The city in December took out a five-year lease, which may bear fruit soon as Joliet gets close to a deal with an unnamed business that would open a yet-to-be specified "entertainment venue."

Jones, who has been put in charge of prison reclamation efforts, said Joliet is hearing from others interested in putting the prison to private use. But the potential could be limited without a long-term plan for the Big House on Collins Street.

"There's not going to be a lot of investment there if someone knows they only have five years for a return," Jones said.

A newly formed Joliet City Council Prison Committee is chaired by Bettye Gavin and includes Terry Morris and Don "Duck" Dickinson.

A date for St. Patrick's Day

The City Council Stadium Committee should hear more about what kind of events the Slammers hope to host with artificial turf at Joliet Route 66 Stadium this year.

The agenda for the Wednesday meeting includes: "Joliet Slammers 2018 Events."

But committee Chairman Pat Mudron said he's most interested in finding out if artificial turf will be installed by the time the University of St. Francis is scheduled to play its first home game there on March 17, which is St. Patrick's Day and just seven weeks away.

"That's the number one item in my opinion on this agenda," Mudron said.

Public Works Director James Trizna is slated to give a turf update.

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