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The party may be over in Spring Valley

City Council may take closer look at liability of block parties

SPRING VALLEY — The future of block parties will be discussed by Spring Valley City Council members. During the meeting Monday, Sept. 11, the council approved the closure of 400 West Third Street from Taylor Street to Richards Street for a block party on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 3 p.m. to midnight, but not after a discussion initiated by alderman Jeff Janusek.

Janusek has questions regarding the city’s responsibility if an incident would occur while the street was blocked off. City attorney Jim Andreoni explained that normally a person doesn’t have “use” of the street and therefore should not be on it except in areas such as crosswalks or in areas where they park. But if the street is closed, he questioned whether or not a case could be made that permission had been granted to be in the entire street.

Therefore if an injury occurred while on the street while blocked off, the city could possibly be responsible.

Janusek said, “I enjoy a block party, but times have changed. I’m looking out for the city.”

Andreoni said he has never researched this, but said Janusek had good questions that should be discussed during a Legislative Committee meeting.

In other news:

• Mayor Walt Marini said that the Consolidated Catholic Schools had a reunion at Kirby Park on Saturday, Sept. 9. Marini received many compliments on the terrific shape the park was in. He said the bathrooms were clean as well as the entire park.

• Marini also said he was contacted by Cedar Point officials. Cedar Point is in desperate need of water due to well issues. Marini said, “I told him we would do whatever we could do to help.”

• City Engineer Mike Richetta of Chamlin and Associates told the council that the bids for street repairs using Motor Fuel Tax money will be opened at 10 a.m. Sept. 25. Four sections of streets are scheduled for repair this year. Streets being fixed include Prairie Street from Lance Avenue to the dead end, Third Street from Power Street to Mary Street, Oakdale Court from Deerpath Road to Bernal Court, and a small patch of Northwestern Street.

• The council approved  an ordinance amending the salaries for administrative clerical jobs and summer help. Also it adds the possibility of hiring one of the summer helpers to work an extra 90 days to help with leaf collection and other fall work.

• The council approved an ordinance authorizing the execution of an interagency agreement to form a major case squad. Police Chief Kevin Sangston explained that it is an agreement between 13 agencies from Bureau, LaSalle and Putnam counties. The purpose of the agreement is to create a multi-jurisdictional authority to be known as the Major Case Squad.

This group will direct its primary enforcement efforts in covert and overt investigations concerning individuals engaged in illicit criminal activities in three counties with specific emphasis on serious violent crime and in the development of intelligence data regarding criminal activity in the area.

Chief Sangston explained that the major case squad was in existence but was dissolved several years ago. Bureau County Sheriff Jim Reed wants to reactivate the group. Sangston said, “It’s a way to share resources and to work together.”

• The council approved the request of Rice River Boys to connect to city water with the stipulation that if anything goes wrong, Spring Valley will not be responsible for repairs.

• A stop sign will be placed on Strong Street at its intersection with Minnesota Street.

• A special meeting was held on Sept. 5 to approve the purchase of a 2009 Elgin Pelican Street Sweeper in the amount of $16,388 which includes $1,700 for transportation. The old sweeper will be sold to Ladd for $500.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, in the council chambers.

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