Godfrey extending gift card program

GODFREY — Godfrey’s gift card program will continue into the new year after the village board approved spending at least another $100,000 for the local stimulus program at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Economic Development Director Jim Mager had proposed $200,000 at the meeting, but Trustee Jeff Weber quickly motioned for the $100,000 figure.

The village has been running the program, which provided discounted gift cards for local businesses, since the spring. So far, they have spent approximately $200,000, with the village picking up half the cost of the cards.

Mayor Mike McCormick said he supported the program, noting the village’s Business District fund has approximately $4.7 million available and that $200,000 was “a drop in the bucket.”

“I think they need another kick,” mayor said of local businesses.

There was some discussion, with Trustee Nathan Schrumpf suggesting the card subsidy be reduced to 25 percent rather than 50 percent to allow the program to impact more people.

Eventually they agreed to keep the subsidy at 50 percent with an initial $100,000, then come back and see if additional money is necessary.

The current program runs through the end of the year, the new program will start after that.

Two façade improvement grants were also approved.

One was for up to $5,500 for Baker and Hale Restaurant, 7120 Montclair Avenue, for the construction of additional parking.

There was some discussion about this, with several trustees concerned about whether parking lots should be part of the program.

“I know there has been some concern if we are just rehabbing, or if it’s just maintenance,” Mager said.

“If they’re doing well and need more parking, where do we draw the line,” Schrumpf asked.

McCormick noted the money was set aside to help businesses, but agreed the issue needs to be considered. He proposed setting up a committee to do that after the first of the year.

Also approved was a façade improvement grant for Travel Leaders, 5727 Godfrey Road. It would be for up to $950 and used for signage.

The board also approved locking the new artificial turf soccer field gates when not being used by the village or rented by a group, at least until security cameras can be put into place.

“We’ve been discussing that here (at Village Hall),” McCormick said. “I think it’s wise to keep it locked until the cameras are installed.”

He added that Parks and Recreation Director Todd Strubhart was to talk with someone about cameras the next day.

In other parks related news, Strubhart was given authorization to apply for a 2021 American Water/NRPA Splash Pad Grant.

A splash pad in Glazebrook Park has been discussed as part of larger improvements.

Approval was also given to apply for an Illinois Department of Natural Resources Federal Rec Trail Program grant for a restroom and pavilion at LaVista Park. The grant would cover 80 percent of the cost, with the village responsible for the remaining 20 percent.

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