The Girard Chamber of Commerce members assembled September 13 at the Community Center for its monthly meeting.
Previous minutes and treasurer’s report were reviewed and filed for audit, with a Festival Days financial review showing a loss for this year’s event.
Miss Girard Addison Earley announced she and Little Miss Mycah Morgan will attend the weekend’s Pageant in Raymond and this year’s Pumpkin Fest in Girard, which is scheduled for October 14.
Festival Days discussion prompted several newly introduced ideas to reinvent and stimulate growth in the event, including efforts to contract a carnival and additional activities for teens. The chamber decided to hold a special public meeting on Tuesday, September 26 at 7 p,.m. in the Community Center to discuss the 2024 Festival Days. The chamber previewed possible changes to the annual celebration necessary to draw more crowds back to the park for it.
“We are trying to contact everyone through Facebook and reaching out with messages,” said chamber president Jeanette Earley. “Please help spread the word and try to attend so we get everyone’s input and ideas.”
Several volunteers are already aiding the chamber in sponsorships for the Pumpkin Festival. Children’s rides, games, Chamber Food Booth, adopt-a-pet, petting zoo, face painting, vendors and more will be featured. Vendors are not charged a fee and may register by calling Deb Burnett at 217-617-3441. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Food sales are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Interim Police Chief Wayman Meredith reported burglaries down in the city, stating city officials approved a salary increase for part-time officers during the recent Council meeting.
Virden’s Chamber report, given by Linda Worlow, contained information on a proposed gaming parlor and related licensing, (tabled for next meeting), a construction add-on to Grand Prairie West Library, a “Back to North Mac” August 12 event serving 139 families, the upcoming October 31 Trunk or Treat and parade, and December 1 and 2 Country Christmas.
John Earley briefly spoke for Prairieland Ambulance, stating the potential merger with Northwestern Ambulance remained in discussion, and Carlinville Area Hospital representative Vicki Walker gave an update on the October 9 grand opening celebration beginning at 4 p.m., with October 10 set for first day of operation for the Hospital’s mobile unit in Virden.
Earley attended the recent City Council meeting, making Council aware of a unanimous vote to replace the city park monument with the Route 66 sign, gaining approval to tear down with a concrete pad to soon be poured, the project in a time crunch because of grant stipulations. Casey Claypool submitted the project’s “Memo of Understanding” from chamber to city.
Claypool advised the chamber on the status of the proposed four entrance signs into the city, presenting sample renderings and associated costs and grant information, the largest sign was suggested for the city’s Illinois Route 4 north entrance, all in hopes with the help of donations the chamber could fund the north sign and a grant perhaps be obtained to purchase the remaining three. A residential donation has already been made toward the project.
The next regular chamber meeting is October 11 at Courtyard Estates.