Galena council approves ordinances for Parker project

Taser purchase OK’d

Galena City Council members this week approved the purchase of new Tasers for the police department. 

The initial request was for nine Tasers, one for each of the city’s nine officers. But the request was amended to include a 10th Taser to serve as backup or for the police chief to use on calls.

Police Chief Eric Hefel said it would be beneficial to the department and explained that each officer is assigned a Taser and keeps it with them at all times. He said the department’s Tasers have reached the end of their warranty life and it would be cheaper to purchase new units. The council approved the amended request of 10 Tasers at a cost of about $32,000, which includes the unit, related equipment, software interface and five-year warranty.

GALENA, Ill. — Galena City Council members this week approved two ordinances related to a controversial resort project, clearing the way for work to begin.

Council members approved an ordinance formally annexing 56.2 acres into the city for The Parker, a substantial lodging project centered on Galena Marine Hospital. Council members also approved an ordinance rezoning the property from limited agricultural to planned unit development.

Council Member Pam Bernstein voted against both measures. She consistently has voted against motions related to the project. Mayor Terry Renner did not cast a vote on either measure.

Both ordinances needed to be approved for the project to move forward as proposed. In addition to the restoration of the hospital, The Parker project would involve four construction phases culminating in more than 100 cottages, a cafe building, a restaurant/event space, outdoor dining areas, a vineyard, walking trails and other amenities.

The project has drawn staunch opposition from a sizable group of residents, though the crowds of opponents attending public meetings has diminished some as city board and council members continue to approve requested actions to bring the project to fruition.  

During the public comment portion of this week’s council meeting, neighbor Wendy Clark said the process has lacked proper discussion and input and that council members have not adequately explained the benefits of the project. Resident Vonda Wall echoed Clark’s question.

“Why is this such a good idea? Why do you think your neighbors are not telling you the truth?” Wall asked, referring to the many opponents that have spoken in public meetings. Wall added that “no one from Galena” is supporting the resort.

Resident Jana Frolich also expressed frustration and said council members have not made it clear that the “project benefits the community as a whole, not just a select few.”

Resident David Hannah said the city has not followed its own code. He said appropriate reports and statements have not been completed as required by ordinance.

“The city says everything is in compliance, but the plain language of the ordinance says otherwise,” he argued. 

Bobby Hahn was the only council member to speak about the project during the meeting. He defended the council’s actions and reiterated that the project will be monitored from beginning to end and that each phase will need city approval.

“Every part of this goes back to the Zoning Board (of Appeals),” he said. “It still comes back to zoning, then will come back to City Hall. Every part of this will be looked at.”