Delavan Council Approves Medical Pot Facility

It's called a Medical Marijuana Cultivation Center, and it's one step closer to being built in Delavan.

The Delavan City Council officially says it wants the facility there by approving annexation agreements, rezoning and a special use ordinance for the land at Rt. 122 and Springfield Road.

"I'm convinced still the majority of the community is solidly behind this," Delavan Mayor Liz Skinner tells 1470 & 100.3 WMBD, "and realize it's quite an opportunity for our town as well as the school district."

The main benefit from this center Skinner talks about is property tax revenue. Skinner says "conservative estimates" put that revenue at $150,000 a year for the city and $50,000 a year for the Delavan School District 703.

Alderman George Mitchell, who cast the lone no vote, asked Skinner, "If it were not for the money, what would recommend this project to the council?"

Skinner's answer was, "Jobs."

"What I could see would be my biggest regret," Skinner says, "is if we had a legal facility and business that wanted to come to Delavan with 50 employees...employees who would build their homes here, send their children to school, funds available so we could further and expand development...we turn it down and we would see the plywood go up on the windows of that school."

Still, Mitchell says the project makes him "uneasy."

"I'm looking down the road and am I going to regret this if I support it?" says Mitchell. "I've got a bad feeling that I am."

Fellow alderman Mark Williams voiced his support for the project.

"Whether or not this is the cause of moral decline or the beginning of an expression of moral decline, I'm not so sure," Williams says. "I think this is something that is morally neutral."

Ted Yontz, speaking during a public hearing prior to the Council vote, said he doesn't want the facility in town.

"I don't think we need this marijuana plant," Yontz says. "It's not going to be good for the community. We're going to be the laughing stock of Tazewell County."

Fellow resident Gary Ryan spoke out against it as well.

"It just doesn't make sense," say Ryan. "There has to be other ways of making revenue for the city than this."

Skinner reemphasized that medical marijuana grown at the facility will be not be sold there. It will packaged and transported by armored car to as many as 60 state-licensed dispensaries in the state.

The facility will have 24-hour State Police video surveillance and armed guards. It will be surrounded by a 10-foot high fence with razor wire at the top.

Skinner says no one, not even city officials, will be allowed in the facility, "unless you work there."

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