St. Paris hires police officer


By Paule Simone Brown

Contributing writer

ST. PARIS – The St. Paris Village Council met Monday, April 17 at a regularly-scheduled meeting in the municipal building.

Mayor Brenda Cook, Councilman Randy Smith, Councilwoman Susan Prince, Councilman Lynn Miller, Councilman Sam Ronicker, Councilman Joe Curran, Councilman Terry Ervin, Village Administrator, Spencer Mitchell, Fiscal Officer, Marc McGuire, and Chief of Police Eric Smith were present.

Pastor Scott Barger of the St. Paris Church of God gave the invocation prayer after the pledge of allegiance that evening.

After the unanimous approval of all meeting minutes, the mayor asked for any public comments on the agenda items for the evening. A few dozen residents attended the meeting to express their opinions on the sale of the municipal building. People who spoke were mostly against the village selling the municipal building, citing several reasons, including: An updated village strategic plan was needed before the building was sold, the offer price was too low and more recent appraisals should be conducted to assess its value and the downtown area should be developed so the village offices should remain there. Although everyone had different views, they all agreed that St. Paris Village should grow and prosper, maintain its historical character, and maintain the quality of life it has always enjoyed.

Cook shared some village notes and announcements. In her notes she congratulated the St. Paris Police Department for receiving the High Five for Heroes Award. She announced The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus is coming to St. Paris on May 22. She added, “The St. Paris Library is having a Masquerade Murder Mystery Theatre on May 5 at 6 p.m. at the library. The public can enjoy dancing, hors d’ oeuvres and mocktails while sinister deeds happen throughout the library.” She then said, “The public should contact the library for tickets and all proceeds benefit the Friends of the Library.”

In addition, the mayor announced, “The spring brush pick-up is April 24-28 and all yard waste should be out by the street by 6 a.m. in the morning.” With Memorial Day only a month and a half away she explained the Memorial Day Ceremony will be held at the cemetery at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 29. Our Town St. Paris Association is sponsoring the Memorial Day event and the mayor should be contacted if the public has any questions about the event.

Other news in May is her announcement that the Graham High School baccalaureate will be held this year on May 17 and the graduation will be held on May 19. Other notes included an announcement that the YMCA sponsors yoga at Harmon Park, every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. and there is no charge to the public.

The next agenda item was committee meeting notices. The JSP Fire Board will hold their next meeting on Friday, May 9 at the Firehouse at 7 p.m. The Land & Building Committee will meet today at 10 a.m. at the municipal building. The Park & Trees Committee will meet Tuesday, May 2 at 10 a.m. at the municipal meeting and the Planning Commission will meet Thursday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the municipal building.

In old business Rich Ebert, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) and Beth McCain, office manager of CEP attended the meeting to give an update on the potential sale of the municipal property. McCain stated, “In the end, Jeff Jordan rescinded his offer to purchase the municipal building for a restaurant because it was not viable at this time.” After heated debates earlier about the sale, the entire room appeared to find relief that evening.

Next, a motion was made that the village’s legal representative would write an ordinance for the next meeting to take the municipal building off the market. The motion passed.

The downtown buildings housing tenants on the first-floor storefronts were discussed in new business. Two ordinances have been written in the past with conflicting wording regarding whether residents can live in storefronts in St. Paris, according to the discussion. Residents living in downtown buildings park on the streets and take up parking spaces that should be used by the public when shopping at the local merchants. As a result, the council requested that the village rules regarding living in storefronts be reviewed further.

The meeting adjourned and the next Village of St. Paris Council Meeting is Monday, May 1 at 7 p.m.

Reach the writer at [email protected].

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