Future of Tamms Depot addressed at recent meeting
Several citizens in Tamms were able to have their questions answered about the future of the Tamms Depot during a community meeting on Thursday, July 28.
The meeting was held at the Tamms Community Building.
Most village board members were present along with mayor and president of the board, Buddy Mitchell, who led the meeting.
The purpose was to inform citizens about the new village hall and to answer any questions.
Village hall is moving out of the depot and into a newly constructed building on Front Street.
The outside construction is done, but the inside still needs to be completed.
The board asked those in attendance to volunteer and to seek volunteers to get the inside completed.
Mitchell said he wants the new village hall to be open by the first of October.
Many citizens were concerned about what the village would do with the depot with no village business being conducted there.
"The depot is all we've got left in Tamms," Mitchell said.
Mitchell explained the cost to bring the depot up to code would be in the excess of $100,000.
The total cost to build a new village hall that would be larger and up to code will cost around $60,000.
Currently, the village has spent $33,673.08 on the outside construction of the building. The remainder of the $60,000 budget will be dedicated to the inside.
Officials shared an outline of the following costs incurred so far by the project: Metal Mall, $5,111.94. Commericial Door and Hardware, $1,968.94. Semo Stone, $158.93. Ready Mix Solutions, $6,026.10. Wissinger Construction, $19,990. United Rentals, $417.51.
The funds were saved while the Tamms prison was still in operation. Mitchell said board members, at the time, earmarked the money that is being used to construct the new building. Mitchell said he wants to make the depot strictly a non-working depot, with no village business being done out of it.
The depot is on the National Register of Historical Buildings.
Some in attendance suggested the depot be opened for the public during certain hours with a person there to give information and history about the town and depot.
Others suggested that the board seek out grants to help with reconstruction.
Mitchell said the National Register of Historical Buildings was contacted and they told him they can't apply for grants.
He was optimistic though and said there are other places they are going to try to apply for grants.
"I want to set up a group of people to get involved and search for grants for the depot," Mitchell said. "It's the only thing we have left and we need to band together and fix this."
The depot currently gets funds from profits made at the Parade of Lights held annually in Tamms and the Alexander County Tourism Bureau.
Some of those in attendance asked why the board let the depot deteriorate to this point.
Mitchell said that maintenance, instead of major repair, had been done, and what was done wasn't enough.
The caboose located next to the depot is apparently full of records.
Mitchell says he plans to clean that out to see what's inside.
"Kids ask to see inside and we can't because it's full," Mitchell said.
During the open meeting, water, gas and sewer rates were also discussed.
Mitchell told the crowd that something has to be done soon to the systems.
There are only two villages in Illinois that still use PVC pipe for gas and Tamms is one of them.
No grants can be given to update the gas system because it is a money making system.
As for the sewer system, there are 16 aerators in Tamms and eight are currently running. They cost $5,000 each.
The cost to make water in Tamms is $2.78 per 1,000 gallons. They sell it for $3.68.
The cost for water and sewer is $2.06 per 1,000 gallons. The selling price is $2.58.
These figures include chemicals, lab work, EPA dues, supplies, gas utilities, electric utilities, salaries, training and insurance for both water and sewer.
They have one of the lowest rates compared to other villages in Alexander County and Pulaski County, only profiting about a penny a gallon.
"Nobody wants high rates. We are looking to see what's best for Tamms," village superintendent Sam Davis said.
The board is currently seeking bids for water and sewage because of the infastructure.
The board meets the second Monday of every month. They are open meetings.
Those who want to attend are asked to call village hall so they can get a head count.
Those who want to speak at a board meeting must call and have their name put on the agenda.