NORMAL – A current gaming establishment which has found itself on Town administration’s radar in recent months received license approvals from Normal Town Council members at Monday’s regularly-scheduled session as Council members began their meeting serving in their capacity as the Normal Local Liquor Commission. Commission members met from remote locations as result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Town Deputy Corporation Counsel Jason Querciagrossa reviewed for Council members issues the Town had cited the owners of Marie’s Place gaming parlor for in the past, including not providing food to patrons as they had advertised they would. Audits done by the Town and inspections done by McLean County Health Department at locations at Patriot Center shopping plaza and at Landmark Mall were to have had food on site but did not offer any. A third location, located in a strip mall at 1702 W. College Ave. never opened, Querciagrossa added.

All three locations came up before NLCC for license renewals, Querciagrossa explained.

Mayor Chris Koos, as head of NLCC, reminded commissioners at a Liquor Commission meeting on March 18 that Commissioners elected to take no action on renewing the business’ licenses but rather, decided for the matter for a hearing to be conducted before an administrative officer.

The hearing officer recommended to the Town that the owners should be fined, Querciagrossa said. At Monday’s NLCC meeting, a number of votes were taken concerning licensing of the business, in part, because its ownership is changing hands. As a result, the Town issued a Stay order for the business’ license for 2018-19, according to Normal Town Clerk Angie Hounker. Liquor Licenses run from April 1-March 30.

When such a business is changing hands, NLCC must vote on approving or not approving the license for the new licensee. But in this situation, not only did that have to be voted on, but so also did approving licenses for the current year and next year.

A number of votes transpired during the NLCC session, the first of which was to revoke the 2018-19 stay of the Marie’s Place license for that fiscal year for the business’ East College Ave. location. In that vote, Commissioners approved denying a license for that location by a 6-1 count, as Commissioners Chris Koos, Karyn Smith, Kathleen Lorenz, Scott Preston, Kevin McCarthy, and Chemberly Cummings voted to uphold the revocation while Commissioner Stan Nord cast the lone vote against revocation. The votes for denying the license renewal for 2019-20 for the business’ location at 115 Susan Dr. fell the same way. Both businesses would have received a Class O – Limited Hours license.

When it came to denying renewals for the business’ 1520 E. College Ave. location for 2020-21, which would give proprietors a Class C – Beer and Wine Only with longer hours, Nord again was the only Commissioner voting to grant the business a license. A fourth vote to deny a Class C license for the location at 1520 E. College Ave. also passed by a 6-1 vote, with Nord again casting the only opposing vote.

Next, Commissioners voted 6-1 to deny a Class C license for the Marie’s Place at 115 Susan Dr., again with Nord casting the only opposing vote.

Another vote awarding a license for the location in the Landmark Mall, for new owners who kept the ownership name of 35 Years LLC Landmark, was also denied by a 6-1 count, with Nord being the lone dissenter.

In an email to The Normalite, Nord explained his lone votes to some of the matters this way: “The reason for my lone vote was because denying the liquor licenses would present an obstacle to the new owner in reopening these business locations. The reason the licenses were being revoked had only to do with not serving food, well prior to the new ownership. The new owner was resolving the issue. The town presented no compelling benefit to justify denying the licenses to the new owner.”

A final vote, to award a license to Marie’s Place at 1702 W. College Ave. for license year 2019-20 received a unanimous approval from NLCC. That business location has never been open but the proprietors have continued to apply for a license. A Class C license for 2020-21 was unanimously approved.

Water Main Replacement Expenditure Approved: During the Council session which followed NLCC’s session, Council members unanimously approved awarding handling a project involving replacing nearly 2,400 feet of water main to George Gildner, Inc. after that firm submitted a bid of $512,433 for the project. The area where the water main will be replaced is located on Jersey Ave. between Ethell Parkway and Robinwood Drive.

The project is being done along Jersey Ave. in order to help relocate the water main into an area that will not disrupt construction of a new bridge in that neighborhood.

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the Minutes of the Special Meeting of March 23, 2020.

• Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of April 6, 2020.

• Report to Receive and File Town of Normal Expenditures for Payment as April 15, 2020.

• A resolution to award the bid for the Jersey Avenue water main replacement project (Robinwood to Ethell Parkway) to George Gildner, Inc. at a total cost of $512,433 plus up to a potential bonus of $15,000 for Early Completion.

• A resolution authorizing an extension of a contract with T2 Systems for the T2 Flex

Parking Ticket Solution in the amount of $81,741.

• A resolution authorizing a Second Amendment to the Supply and Processing Agreement with Midwest Fiber Recycling for the processing of recycled materials and
continuation of the drop-box recycling program for six months and authorizing an associated budget adjustment.

• An ordinance reserving volume cap in connection with private activity bond issues
and Related Matters

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