BELLEVILLE, Il (KMOV.com) -- Monday night, the city council in Belleville decided to hold off on a plan to spend up to $7,000 in TIF money to build a six foot fence around a gaping hole on East Main.
Mayor Mark Eckert said some of the council members proposed the idea in order to better secure the site, but the city’s attorney advised the council to wait until it learns the outcome of an ongoing lawsuit.
The owner of the site sued the city after Belleville had the building demolished without notifying the owner or a court order. The building burned down in May, 2010. News 4 reported in 2011 that the Illinois EPA was also involved because the city did not notify the agency before demolition, which sent asbestos into the air.
Penni Livingston, the attorney representing property owner Ronnie Phillips, says the city agreed to pitch in for the cost of cleaning up the asbestos and filling in the hole - but later backed out of the deal when Phillips wouldn’t drop the entire lawsuit.
“I don’t think having a fence is a bad idea,” said Livingston.
“If you’re going to spend seven grand, why not spend ten grand and help us clean it up?”
Monday night, the council voted to wait before spending the money to build a fence around the hole.
“We do check it daily for security. Sightliness? It’s a problem, but at this point we’re going to wait until we get the decision. Then, we’ll reconvene with the attorneys and talk about where we go next,” said Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert.