One alderman tips his hand for vote on 54th and Broadway development; QFD captain recognized for 25 years


Capt. Chris Bichsel with the Quincy Fire Department, center, is congratulated by Chief Bernie Vahlkamp, right, during Monday's Quincy City Council meeting at the Quincy Public Library. At left is Mayor Mike Troup. | David Adam

QUINCY — The Quincy City Council isn’t expected to address again the proposed retail development at the intersection of 54th and Broadway until July 15, but one alderman appeared to show where he stands on the issue during Monday night’s meeting at the Quincy Public Library.

A proposal from Omaha, Neb.-based developer Jim Otis to place four restaurants and a gas station/convenience store on a nearly eight-acre lot on the northeast corner of 54th and Broadway was tabled for three weeks at the June 25 City Council meeting.

Otis wants to receive a $1 million sales tax rebate. The city’s current proposal calls for splitting the sales tax revenue 50-50 for the first 10 years or until Otis receives $1 million. Three local developers spoke against the sales tax rebate during the June 17 City Council meeting, and aldermen voted to table the resolution for one week. 

Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said after last week’s meeting that Otis remains interested and wants to meet with aldermen. However, his schedule didn’t allow him to return to Quincy until after the July 4 holiday.

When aldermen had a chance to bring up any issues at the end of Monday’s meeting, alderman Dave Bauer (D-2) said he had an interesting conversation with his father.

“Most of the time it ends up as, ‘Well, whatever you say, Dad. I think you made it up, but there’s nobody living who can prove it,’” Bauer said. “We got into a conversation about 54th Street, and he says, ‘Well, what are you going to do for the other 71 restaurants on Broadway?’ And I said, ‘Well, we haven’t done nothing for anybody yet.’ And I said I have not made my decision on voting.’”

Bauer then challenged his father’s belief that Broadway had 71 restaurants.

“That can’t be right, but I’m going to count them because this time I can prove (his father) wrong,” Bauer said.

Bauer said he counted restaurants that are one block north or south of Broadway as well, using The Abbey and 18th and Spring as an example. He also went as far to the east as the Silver Dollar GSM at 7403 Broadway,

The final figure? Bauer said he counted 84 restaurants.

“Unbelievable,” he said with a smile. “If you took off the ones that were a block off Broadway, (his father) was very close.”

Bauer then made his point.

“I think we should think long and hard before we worry about …,” he said, not completing the sentence. “I encourage people to come to Quincy, but I also think we don’t want to hurt the (restaurants) that are here too. So just a bit of information (about) how many (restaurants) that are really out there. How many will survive for (the) new (restaurants)?”

Troup then asked Ken Hultz (R-3), the alderman seated to Bauer’s left, if he had anything to discuss.

“No, I don’t have anything to say,” Hultz replied. “I thought that was wonderful.”

Capt. Chris Bichsel was recognized at the beginning of the meeting for 25 years of service with the Quincy Fire Department. 

Chief Bernie Vahlkamp told aldermen that Bichsel was hired on May 24, 1999, and they were both among the initial members of training for the technical rescue teams immediately after 9/11. Bichsel has maintained his paramedic license and now is a firefighter at Quincy Regional Airport.

Bichsel was promoted to lieutenant on Dec. 19, 2005, and to captain on Dec. 14, 2017. He is the Quincy Fire Department’s lead CPR and AED instructor and has trained more than 1,700 people in Quincy.

Bichsel thanked his wife and three daughters for their sacrifice, as well as many firefighters who attended the meeting.

“My kids didn’t really know when Christmas was each year,” he said. “Based on our schedule, it moved around. The holidays have always been a surprise for them. They allowed me to celebrate holidays with them on different days. 

“It’s been a privilege and honor to serve the city for the past 25 years and work with these fellow firefighters. They’ve made it very enjoyable. That’s why I’m still here, hopefully for a few more years.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The date of Bichsel’s hire by the Quincy Fire Department was incorrect in a previous version of this story.

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