My concern is that there appears to be no progress on rebuilding Sprout's. It's been quite a while since the fire, and many faithful customers are anxiously awaiting its completion. What is going on with Sprout's? Is it a dead issue?
The construction of Sprout's Inn continues to progress, though it may not be visible to people who drive past the empty lot at 2810 N. 12th.
The well-known eatery was destroyed in a June 14 fire that left 72 Sprout's employees temporarily out of a job. An excavator dismantled the remains of the restaurant in late July and early August, and owner Jennifer Wiemelt said she wanted to start construction of a new building on Nov. 1.
However, it hasn't been that easy.
"There have been a couple of little things hold everything up," Wiemelt said. "There was an easement on the property involving a trailer that was no longer there. We were just having lawyers draw up papers, and we meet with the city (soon) to verify everything. ... Also, there weren't a lot of records with the city as to things like where the sewer line ran. There are just a lot of little things that are taking weeks at a time to get worked out.
"We are still building. We have the plans finished, but I've never built a brand new restaurant, and I want to do it right the first time. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing that we're trying to do, and we have to have our Ps and Qs in order."
She says she's heard grumbling around town that the restaurant wasn't going to be rebuilt.
"A lot of people are aggravated, and there's been tons of rumors, but we are definitely rebuilding," Wiemelt said. "We're so looking forward to it."
While construction of the building is held up, Wiemelt says she and her husband, Bill, have been talking with vendors, architects and interior decorators. Plans are being made to accommodate more parking, especially for handicapped patrons.
"Once the building gets going, it will go fast," she said. "We're hoping maybe in April for it to be complete."
What are the duties of an alderman? Are they written down anywhere?
Two aldermen in each of Quincy's seven wards are elected to serve four-year terms on Quincy's City Council. On alderman in each ward is up for election every two years. Aldermen are paid $100 per meeting, or $5,300 annually. They also receive $150 a month for expenses and $900 a year to serve as trustees for Quincy Township for a total of $8,000.
Quincy Mayor John Spring said he tried to find a written job description of an alderman, and he said he couldn't find one.
"Once they're elected, we do an orientation with them," he said. "We'll take them through procedures, the difference between a resolution and an ordinance, how to make a motion ... we do all that. I always give them a copy of Robert's Rules of Order, I ask them to look through the city municipal code, I appoint them to committees and commissions.
"But there's not a true job description."
The City Codebook has seven pages describing general provisions of the City Council, the rules of order and how wards are determined.
Should the city create a written job description?
"I don't know," Spring said. "There are elected positions by the people, and you either have prior knowledge of the job or you don't.
"I was used to being on boards and running meetings and understanding protocol (when he served as executive director of the Quincy Notre Dame Foundation). Not everybody has that background, but it's my experience that you learn as you go. I'm not sure there should be any said job description."
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