New tenant expected at West Frankfort business incubator


City officials say they have a verbal commitment from a business expected to occupy 75,000 square feet at West Frankfort’s Business Incubator.

West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan announced at the Dec. 11 city council meeting that Irwin Industries had toured the portion of the facility once occupied by Raytech Machining and are interested in moving into the space.

The energy industry construction conglomerate is based in Long Beach, California. West Frankfort’s central location near Illinois Basin coal mines is attractive to Irwin’s division that sells, repairs and maintains long wall jacks, Jordan said.

Though specific numbers are not available yet, Jordan said that Irwin’s move into the facility would create jobs.

Irwin Industries makes the third new tenant at the business incubator in as many months. The council also voted to spend $2,150 for office construction expenses for J&J Gaming, another of the incubator’s new tenants.

In other action, the West Frankfort City Council:

  • Approved the city’s annual tax levy ordinance, effective May 1, 2012 through April 30, 2013. The ordinance includes a 5 percent increase in the tax levy. Mayor Tom Jordan said the city’s tax levy, which is largely used to pay for police and fire pensions, represents about 10 percent of the city’s $12.7 million total annual budget.
  • Designated three street parking spaces on the east side of Emma Street, south of Oak Street and north of the alley, for the exclusive use of Morthland College. Street Commissioner Tara Fasol-Chambers explained that because of tight parking in the area, the college, which has recently moved into the old First Christian Church / Grace Baptist Fellowship building, had requested some designated spaces for a few staff members with health issues, and for loading and unloading. Signs will be erected denoting the restricted spaces.
  • Approved no parking signs for the block of Mulberry Street between Oak and Elm streets. Fasol-Chambers said that because the street is narrow, residents have trouble accessing their driveways when street parking is allowed.
  • Added Sam E. Ward and Christian M. Whittington to West Frankfort’s auxiliary police force, at the request of Police Chief Jeff Tharp.
  • Approved the transfer of Lake Lot Lease No. 84 from James and Jean Reeder to Glenn and Kay Bridewell.
  • Proclaimed December as Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month in West Frankfort, as part of a national campaign sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
  • Approved a calendar of city council meetings for 2013. The council will continue to meet at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, with the exception of the second meeting in December. It has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 23 to avoid conflicts with Christmas Eve.
  • Approved a payment of $11,713.29 to Brown & Roberts Inc. for 2012 motor fuel tax program engineering.
  • Approved change order No. 4 for the Route 37 water main relocation as part of the road construction project there. This change actually decreased the contract amount by $32,867.09.
  • Approved the final payment of $5,000 to KPS, Inc. for the Route 37 water main relocation.
  • Approved a payment of $2,302 to Frank Tresso for repairs of two pieces of Street Department equipment – the jet truck and the 580 backhoe.
  • Approved a new sign for Pup’s 212 Tavern.

The next regular meeting of the West Frankfort City Council will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 27 at City Hall.

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