Andover to participate in 50th Orion Fall Fest

Tim Evans

Village participation in the 50th annual Orion Fall Festival was among the topics of discussion Monday, Aug. 1, at the August meeting of the Andover Village Board of Trustees held at the Andover American Legion Post home.

The village is seeking volunteers to work a shift in the Central Park food tent at the three-day festival on Saturday, Sept. 3, from 2:30-5 p.m. Mayor Mike Mielke said he has six volunteers already from the village and board but hopes other citizens in the community will help as well. A posting asking for volunteers would also be placed at the Andover Post Office. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the village hall or the mayor.

The village benefits from the festival by applying for funds for special projects. Members of the Andover Fire Department once took on garbage duty for the festival, before the task was taken over by local Boy Scouts. The department benefited with training and other equipment for their volunteers. Most recently, the village benefited with new bleachers for the Andover Lake Park ball diamonds with the festival funding.

Along with the Andover Fire Department volunteers touting their equipment, the city also talked about hosting a float in the Festival parade, possibly using a miniature Jenny Lind Chapel replica that has been displayed in the past in parades. There was also talk of putting the new village pick-up/plow in the parade if decals could be installed in time.

Andover mayor Mike Mielke and village employee Jon Blade show off the village’s new 2500 Dodge Ram pick-up truck and Western snowplow purchased with Andover’s approximately $40,000 allowance of federal American Rescue Plan funding. The funding was based on community population size.

The theme of the parade is “Three Cheers for 50 Years” and local Andover businesses were also encouraged to take part in the event to take place on Saturday noon, lining up at the Orion High School at 11 a.m. Deena Johnson and Jim DeBaillie are chairing the event.

The parade runs through the town past Central park and ends at the Orion Middle School.

In other business, the village is also asking residents to return a simple one-page survey required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regarding cross connections.

Village clerk Bev Josephson reported surveys are slowly returning and only 68 of 250 have come back to the village. She said each resident is required to fill out the survey, the EPA demanding 100 percent response. “Just fill it out and get it to us,” she said.

The village is also working with the Illinois DOT on placement of a digital sign to be erected near Route 81 at the corner next to the American Legion Building. The sign would be a communication tool for village residents.

Mayor Mike Mielke reported work on the village water tower won’t be done late this summer as hoped, noting supplies to paint the tower as well as adding an electrical generator in case of power outages are taking longer than anticipated. He said the work would likely begin in the spring of 2023.

“We thought we had everything in place,” the mayor said the USDA authorized  project. “I guess this is where we are.” Council member Travis Noyd said he hoped the contractor taking on the job was “under promising” and the work would get done quicker.

The city is also looking at purchasing additional chairs for the American Legion building, noting four new padded folding chairs were ordered and delivered last month, costing over $200.

The village also expressed interest in a project by Woodhull Telephone Company to install fiber optic cable for resident and business use in Andover. With an estimated cost of approximately $1.2 million for approximately 250 users, the county would pick up a good portion of the costs. Residents would be charged for using the system once installed.

The village would survey residents and businesses, asking about interest in the project. Officials were also contacting Woodhull and Alpha officials about the service, already installed in their communities.

Board members also tabled a discussion on pay increases and reviews of village employees, noting it would be done in closed session at the September meeting, with any pay raises being retroactive. The village’s year-round employees include Jon Blade and Ronald Grymonprez.

The next meeting of the board will be held on Monday, Sept. 12 because of the Labor Day holiday. It will begin at 7 p.m. and anyone is welcome to attend.