A view from above of Creek Side Park in Pecatonica taken by a drone.

By Chris Johnson


PECATONICA – A technology that has become more apparent was employed recently, as steps were taken to begin a project to add a walking path to Creek Side Park in Pecatonica

Village Engineer Jason Stoll reported to Trustees with the Pecatonica Village Board that he had asked Fly-Farm of Byron to aid in the early steps of building a recreation path.

Trevor Hogan with the drone-survey company said the use of drones in assisting in the early steps of engineering work has helped produce better information.

“This service is used as an additional way to provide data to the engineers and works in conjunction with ground based surveying data.  The goal is to provide accurate data very quickly.”

The entire process of mapping Creek Side Park only took about five minutes, according to Hogan.

One issue that has to be taken into consideration on each survey mission, Hogan said, was the grass height.”

“Sometimes the drone can zoom in so clearly you can see one blade of grass. But it can see the weeds and tall grass and interpret it as being ground level.”

Stoll presented the plan to incorporate a drone-survey team to research where the proposed walking path would best be constructed.

The work at Creek Side Park is just one of a list of many the Village Engineer said he and his company, Chastain and Associates, will be helping the Village on other projects, including a possible sidewalk project that would snake along Main Street, beginning at Seventh Street.

Stoll said he is helping getting the necessary paperwork and prep-work in place, before the application process closes for an ITEP Grant.

“We are looking at a six-foot wide path on our preliminary plan. We have to be a little strategic if we don’t want to have to relocate any utility poles.”

According to the Village Engineer, it would be a much simpler process if the Village decided to build the path around the posts, rather than have them moved.

“The project scope includes sidewalks, as well as ramps on the west side of Seventh and Reed Streets, with new sidewalks up and down Division.”

There was hope the project could have also included ADA ramps, with improvements to Fifth and Sixth Streets, but it couldn’t be done.

One of the big reasons the project received the full support of Trustees and Village President Dan Barber was the co-operation with the Pecatonica School Board.

Trustee Steve Eytalis said he was in favor of the issue, but since the School Board hadn’t yet formally agreed to partner the cost of the construction, after all grant monies are used, there was a slight apprehension.

“I met with administrators and they were impressed with the project and excited about it. I see no problem with it. I would just feel more comfortable with a “word of intent” from them or a straw poll, or something like that.”

Trustee Zach Foster voiced his concern about assuring the Village remains flexible in its plan going forward.

“I just want clarification. If the economic times don’t get better and we can’t fund the project, if it could be scaled back.”

It was expressed that there would be the ability to modify any plans. The pressure lies on getting the application filed before the looming deadline.

According to reports, the last sidewalk project which forged a path from the Middle School to the High School, took about two and one half years from grant application filing to project completion.

Mid-June is just weeks away.

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