Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cable Channel 99

The City of Centralia, in partnership with Charter Communications, began airing local television content on cable channel 99 in August 2007. Channel 99 features City Council meetings, local government activities and community announcements. The purpose of Channel 99 is to inform and involve the citizens of Centralia concerning the issues facing the City as well as to be the number one source for accurate information regarding local government operations.

Cable Channel 99 is on a loop that varies in length depending on the availability of content. Typically this is a four to five hour loop. New content is added to the channel weekly. Future programming on channel 99 will include high school sporting events, 360 degree tours of the City, and programming from Kaskaskia College. For a program guide please visit the City’s web site at www.cityofcentralia.org.

The City is very excited about this channel, and hopes that all residents with access to Charter Cable will be able to utilize it as a tool to stay abreast of important issues facing the City. The channel is available to all cable television subscribers within the City of Centralia at no additional charge.

For citizens of Centralia that do not subscribe to Charter Cable, Channel 99 Online is now available for viewing on the City’s website at www.cityofcentralia.org. All content is available On-Demand, meaning there is no waiting for your program to begin. Channel 99 Online also contains an archive of past City Council meetings and other video footage that previously aired on Cable Channel 99.

The City of Centralia is excited to announce a partnership with Kaskaskia College to produce fresh new content for Channel 99. Kaskaskia College will soon commence a new media-related course offering, and students of this course will also develop content for Channel 99. Together we will strive to produce content that is accurate and relevant to Centralia

Monday, May 19, 2008


The City of Centralia has had some success recently with obtaining funding for Housing Rehabilitation. The City was awarded approximately $300,000 in 2006 and a similar amount was just announced for 2008, through the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) with the State of Illinois. Each application is specific to one neighborhood only, and residents to be benefitted are pre-qualified during the application. Qualifying homes must have a household income of no more than 80% of the median income for Marion County and they must own their home. In selecting a target area, Community Development staff surveyed the entire community then used these results to select an area where most of the neighborhood was low-income, home ownership was high, and repairs were needed to the homes.
The area that was funded in 2006 was the 900 and 1000 blocks of South Maple (just south of Calumet). Seven homes in the area have received assistance. The typical amount of investment has been around $40,000 per house. The primary goal of the work is to the home into compliance with all building maintenance codes. This may include new roofing, windows, siding, plumbing (both feed lines and drain lines), electrical wiring, water heaters, furnace, flooring, and even kitchen cabinets. The rehabilitation of the neighborhood also included the demolition of several homes to improve the conditions of blight in the neighborhood.
The City of Centralia submitted the 2008 grant in November of 2007 and just received word this April that the application was funded. The target area for this grant is the 400-600 blocks of North Locust. Approximately eight homes in the are expected to be rehabilitated. Once again, only those residents who qualify as low-income homeowners will be assisted. If more than eight applications are received, they will be ranked according to various criteria. These will include income, the number of people in the home, and the presence of any elderly or disabled residents in the home. The City of Centralia also intends to demolish several dilapidated homes in the target area.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Free preparation of Economic Stimulus Payment tax returns to be offered in Centralia

Volunteers from the Center for Economic Progress will be in Centralia to prepare free Economic Stimulus Tax returns on Tuesday May 27. Free preparation of returns will be offered to seniors and persons with disabilities who received Social Security (SSA), Railroad Retirement or Veterans Benefits during 2007. Filing the Economic Stimulus Payment tax return will qualify recipients for the advance $300 payment from the federal government.

The free service will be conducted in the City Council chambers at Centralia City Hall from 12:00pm-3:00pm on a first-come, first-served basis. Those wishing to be served should bring statements that detail the amount of their Social Security, Railroad Retirement or Veterans Benefits.

For questions regarding eligibility and for further information, please contact the Joe Hinton, Community Relations Specialist, Center for Economic Progress at 312-252-0280 ext 265.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

College / Johnson Sewer Project

The College Avenue Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation project is nearing completion! In February 2006, the City of Centralia was awarded a $315,870 Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) Public Facilities and Design Engineering grant for the rehabilitation of sanitary sewer and pump station along College Avenue. The project involves the replacement of the Sanitary Sewer Main from Rexford to Monroe Street and the existing lift station at College and Johnson. Video inspection showed the existing Sanitary Sewer Main was in need of complete replacement and plagued by grease deposits. There were also issues with the slope of the existing main. Construction began April 7, 2008 and will be completed by July 9, 2008.
The City’s portion of this project was 25% of the project cost ($105,290), which was budgeted for in the Sewer Fund. The total cost of this project was $421,160.