wants more $
By Kathie Godfrey
LOWELL - Town Council members asked representatives
of SprintCom.com - who are hoping to place an antenna atop the town's
water tower in Evergreen Park Ñ for a little bigger slice of the pie
Following a lengthy discussion of the lease
agreement, which would net the town's water utility a $21,000 lump sum
payout the first year and $1,800 per month in rental fees with three
percent annual increases, Town Council President Robert Hatch, R-3rd,
said he'd like to see a five percent annual increase during the 25-year
term of Sprint's lease with the town.
Councilman Larry Just, R-4th, agreed.
"We should consider the higher rate because of
the town's eventual expansion and growth," he said. "This is
an opportunity for Sprint."
But Sprint attorney Patti Bernhard and site location
specialist Mark Dudeck said only a very few antenna sites had been
offered annual increases in excess of the two percent average.
Bernhard said the town of Gurnee, Ill. - home to the Great America theme
park and Gurnee Mills outlet mall - was receiving just $1,750 per month
with three percent increases.
Dudeck added that that Hyatt Hotel in Chicago's Loop
was receiving four percent annual increases because of the enormous size
of the market in that area.
"We would not be able to justify that
expenditure in a small rural market," Bernhard said.
Asked what Sprint would do if the Lowell antenna site
doesn't go in, Bernhard said radio frequency engineers could redesign
their two existing sites Ñ located at Route 2 and I-65, and at Route 41
and Belshaw Road - to accommodate the gap in coverage.
Hatch said the extra percentage point would only
amount to "chump change" at $216 the first year and asked what
would happen if the town insisted on a four percent increase.
"It will probably be shot down at the corporate
level," Dudeck said.
The council asked Sprint representatives to forward
their counteroffer to Sprint officials.
Dudeck said their answer would be ready for the May 14 council meeting.
In other business, the council named Dan Myers as
Water Treatment Plant superintendent and Barry Davis as Street
Myers and Davis had held positions as acting
superintendents since the departure of Brian Tucker in November, 2000,
and the council's removal of Al Bachman in January.
The council also awarded their portion of Lake
County's Hotel/Motel tax funds to the following organizations, in the
following amounts: the Sesquicentennial Committee, $1,800; the Lowell
Labor Day Organization, $1,300; the Lowell Chamber of Commerce, which
sponsors the Oktoberfest event, $1,300; and the Lowell Downtown
Merchants Association, $1,300.
At the committee's request the council also requested
that $1,000 be given to Halsted House Historical Association from the
town's Community Relations Fund.
school progressing 'smoothly'
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - New high school project manager Scott
Cherry told the School Board on Monday that 'construction is progressing
along rather smoothly' on the building at Burrell Drive and Main Street.
"As the summer comes along we anticipate a lot
of things taking shape," Cherry said.
The steel frame of the classroom section - the eastern wing of the
building - is nearing completion, and roof work will begin soon, Cherry
Workers recently began putting exterior brick on the
auditorium, but have moved to the courtyard to complete that while
access is easy.
Masonry work on bearing and perimeter walls continues, but in response
to a question from board member Thomas Hoffman, Cherry said "we
wish that the brickwork was going better," though some of the
weather-related delays are understandable.
Cherry said he has talked to the masonry contractor,
Gough, Inc., about supplying more workers, "but I think (Gough) is
at (its) optimum level."
The number of masons on site ranges from 24 to 30,
and 'supposedly' will peak around 40, Cherry said.
"We're hoping the masonry will be complete by
fall," he added.
Besides structural work, mechanical and electrical
roughing are going well, Cherry said. Also interior concrete slabs are
being poured throughout western wings, and will start to be poured in
the classroom wing "in the next week or so."
Site work, especially the filling of the athletic
fields, continues as weather permits, Cherry said.
Hoffman raised a potential problem concerning site
work. Ponds at neighboring Youche Country Club, he said, have filled up
with muddy water.
Cherry said he would investigate that.
Also Monday, the board approved $86,877 in change
orders for the project, covering a variety of minor revisions.
To date, $386,786 in change orders have been
approved, though Building and Grounds Director Jim Burggraf noted that
cost-cutting measures have resulted in the project's contingency fund -
from which change order are paid - is actually $8,745 higher than at the
start of the project.