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MATTOON -- The City Council on Tuesday approved a special use permit for a childcare center to open at the site of the former D&W Restaurant.

This former restaurant building, 61 DeWitt Ave., is being remodeled for use as the new home for The Learning Zone Early Development Center, currently located at West Park Plaza.

Learning Zone owner Angela Pearson said she is expanding her childcare center to serve up to 65 children ages infant to 7 years old at the new location. She noted that the current location serves a total of approximately 50 children.

Pearson said her staffing also will eventually increase from 18 to 25 employees at the new location, which is scheduled to open as early as next week.

The property owners, Gani and Fetye Imeri, of the former restaurant requested the special use permit. They previously operated the Big Apple Pancake & Waffle House at this site.

In other matters, the council approved increases and revisions to various fees within the city code. City Administrator Kyle Gill said the building permit fees are updated every four to five years, but some of the fees for pool tables and other amusement permits had remained unchanged since 1968.

"it was time to change some of them and update them," Gill said.

Regarding building permits, the cost for a permit to construct a single-family or two-family home will increase from the current range of $97.95 to $124.88 depending on the square footage to the new range of $113.85 to $145.23.

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The council also voted Tuesday night to employ Eric Haughee as probationary patrol officer for the Mattoon Police Department effective April 10, contingent upon the passing of his evaluations, to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Officer John Farrar.

Chief Jeff Branson said Haughee will bring to the police department several years of experience on patrol with the Coles County Sheriff's Office.

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"I think he is going to hit the ground running," Branson said.

Other actions taken by the council included:

•Approving the Clark Dietz engineering firm's design cost proposal of $49,195 for replacing the intake screens at the wastewater treatment plant.

•Authorizing the annual publication of the updated city zoning map. Gill said the updates include zoning changes for Copper Creek Cottages memory care facility along Dettro Drive at Country Club Road and the Cottonwood Lots duplexes along Richmond Avenue at Division Street.

•Giving notice to the Illinois Department of Transportation of the city's annual Fourth of July, Bagelfest, Veterans Day, and Christmas parades. Mayor Tim Gover said this notice is needed because the parade routes cross 19th Street, which carries Illinois Route 121 and U.S. Route 45.

•Ratifying the appointment of Joyce Jackson to the Mattoon Arts Council for an unexpired term through Sept. 30, 2018.

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Reporter

Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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