Community leaders relay support for Eastern during City Council

Lynnsey Veach, Staff Reporter

Hadley Phillips spoke at the Charleston City Council meeting Tuesday and read a prepared statement from his father, Rep. Reggie Phillips, offering support for Eastern’s students and faculty.

Hadley Phillips delivered his father’s remarks because Reggie Phillips is in Springfield for Gov. Rauner’s budget address on Wednesday.

In Reggie Phillips’ statement, he advocated for funding for Eastern with no more than a 6.5 percent cut to Eastern’s budget.

“I want to encourage Charleston and EIU to call and write any and all Springfield legislatures,”

Reggie Phillips said. “Tell them to work together and fund our university.”

Reggie Phillips said in his statement that he would not have been able to study at Eastern without MAP Grants and other forms of aid.

He said he gives Eastern credit for his success in Charleston.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for my time at Eastern,” he said.

Mayor Brandon Combs read a prepared statement at the meeting concerning Eastern’s current state and need for funding.

Combs said almost everyone in the Charleston community has a tie to Eastern; some are students, staff, alumni and relatives of faculty.

“Any trouble that comes upon Eastern is very personal to almost all of us,” Combs said. “This is our university, and those students and employees are our people.”

Combs said he urges our legislatures from both parties to compromise and provide funding that is needed for Eastern and other universities in Illinois.

“This is not about who is right or wrong, or who is going to win,” Combs said. “This is about our state leaders finding a way to get these schools the financial support they all need to keep going.”

Combs said he has contacted lawmakers many times about this pressing issue, and he encourages the entire community to do the same.

He reminded the attendees that elected officials are a part of this community too, and they are facing a difficult task ahead of them.

President David Glassman responded during the meeting to Reggie Phillips’ and Combs’ statements regarding Eastern.

Glassman said he is thankful and appreciative of Charleston for all the love and support community members have shown recently for Eastern.

“What we are looking for is the preservation of our great institution, higher education benefits everyone,” Glassman said.

Glassman said he is hopeful and confident that Illinois lawmakers will pass a clean budget, so Eastern can continue to succeed.

“We will continue our fight, and we will continue our advocacy on behalf of EIU,” Glassman said. “And as I’ve said many many times, I am extremely confident and have full expectations that our lawmakers will make the right decision, and that is to pass an appropriation for EIU and for all the other public universities and community colleges in the state.”

Glassman said he is expecting lawmakers to come together and pass the appropriations that are needed for Eastern’s future and success.

“I’m hoping that it’s sooner rather than later, as we are already seeing the effects of going eight months without a budget,” Glassman said. “I am confident that we will see progress being made and together we will have a very prosperous, successful future, for not just EIU, but for EIU, Charleston and for our entire region.”

In other business matters, the council voted in favor of purchasing the real estate of 910 Madison Ave. Combs said the city will demolish the property for city purposes.

The property of 910 Madison Ave. is owned by Credit Union One, and will be selling the real estate for $12,000 to the city. The lot is next to the Charleston Fire Department Station #1, located at 404 Tenth St.

The council approved amending a drive-in establishment ordinance that will change the minimum drive-through land radius from 45 ft. to 20 ft., the outside lane radius to 32 ft. and the width to 12 ft.

Combs said this proposed amendment is just a code revision.

The council voted in favor to authorize repairs to the Water Treatment Plant ozone generator by a Single-Source Vendor. Combs said the repairs are needed after damages that occurred in the Water Treatment Plant as a result of a fire.

Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc. is the designer and manufacturer of the proprietary ozone generator and the only company that can perform the necessary repair. Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc. said they can make the repairs needed for a cost not to exceed $118,000.

The council voted in favor for the renewal of lease agreement between the city and the Special Olympics of Coles County.

The City of Charleston owns the Municipal Building, of 520 Jackson Ave., and the Special Olympics plans on renting office space in the building.

The city approved to authorize an agreement for janitorial contract renewal between the city and Excel EcoClean.

The city will continue to use Excel EcoClean for the purpose of cleaning the Municipal Building and Recreation Department, the Charleston Police Department, the Police Training Facility and the Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum.

Combs also announced the proclamation of recognizing the month of February as Black History Month.


Lynnsey Veach can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]