By Bob Balgemann

After a year of the village and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) working through the details, construction of a sidewalk along the west side of Illinois 251, between Superior Avenue and Peachtree Street, is in a position to be ready to happen this summer.

A step in the wake of that initial preparation was an appearance of the proposal April 18 before the advisory public improvement and safety committee (PISC).

Village Engineer Chris Dopkins provided the background, saying that after the time of negotiations the necessary permits for the work should be in hand in the coming weeks. Given that, the time had arrived to authorize bidding for the project, which was recommended for approval that night by the committee.

“We will advertise (for bids) in May and open proposals in June,” he said. “Construction could start in mid-July and wrap up around the end of August.”

He added that doing the project as scheduled “will work well for restoration” of properties along the route of the sidewalk. “We really don’t want to be planting grass is August, in a hot, dry month. We want to do that in September.”

There was no discussion from among committee members who voted unanimously, in a voice vote, to move along Resolution 23-R-22 with a positive recommendation. The village board, also unanimously and without discussion, approved the resolution at its May 2 meeting. Bids for the work will be sought soon.

Flood mitigation

Also April 18 the PISC got the first look at Resolution 24-R-22, awarding a contract for the purchase and demolition of 22 houses in the Rock River floodway that have been damaged during recent flooding events.

Engineer Dopkins also provided the background on this effort, made possible through a recently awarded hazard mitigation grant received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“The village has begun the acquisition process and bids for demolition services were solicited in accordance with the village’s purchasing policies and grant provisions,” he explained. “Thankfully, the grant pays 100 percent of the cost of the demolition; no village funds are being spent on demolition.

“Additionally, the contract is set up so that the village pays the contractor only if the building is demolished. In other words, no payment is made to the contractor if a property owner decides to opt out of the program.”

Contract proposals for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Flood Hazard Mitigation Grant (FHMG) Demolition were opened the morning of the committee meeting. Dopkins said there was a lot of interest in this project, with proposal documents having been secured ahead of time by seven general contractors and two plan rooms.

Ultimately, he added that one of the bids came from outside the area, specifically from McDonagh, which is in Chicago.  “Three general contractors submitted a proposal for the project,” he said.

The bids came from: Northern Illinois Service Company, $498,952; N-Trak Group, $353,900; and McDonagh Demolition, $613,000. The village engineer’s opinion of probable construction cost was $488,100.

Dopkins noted that there was quite a bit of difference between the bids. “Probably the biggest difference between our (engineering) opinion of costs and the bids was in the properties along Shore Drive and Ventura,” he said. “A lot of those are bigger homes and apparently N-Trak figured out a better way to skin the cat, to get those (demolitions) completed a little more efficiently.”

The engineer said he found N-Track, based in Loves Park, to be the lowest, responsive and responsible bidder for the project.

Here are the addresses of the homes that are scheduled for demolition under the FMA and FHMG program:

14 Gilbert Terrace, estimated cost $11,282; 19 Gilbert Terrace, estimated cost $9,260; 21 Gilbert Terrace, estimated cost $11,355; 27 Gilbert Terrace, $9,520; 9 Liberty Blvd., $10,936; 15 Liberty Blvd., $10,852; 4 Marquette Road, $12,150; 8 Marquette Road, $14,615; 13 Marquette Road, $9,442; 25 Marquette Road, $9,072; 8108 Shore Dr., $14,656, plus removal of the adjacent retaining wall, another $8,300; 8206 Shore Dr., $16,786; 8212 Marquette Drive, $17,865; and 8326 Marquette Dr., $16,187.

Also, 10818 Venture Blvd., estimated cost $14,057; 11048 Ventura Blvd., $24,895; 24 Wilshire Blvd., $12,028; 27 Wilshire Blvd., $8,544; 28 Wilshire Blvd., $12,365; 38 Wilshire Blvd., $14.043; and 120 Wilson Ave.

The required asbestos inspection, reporting and abatement would cost an estimated, extra $66,000.

Without discussion, PISC in a unanimous voice vote recommended approval of the recommendation and forwarded it to the May 2 village board meeting. The board, also without discussion and in a unanimous vote, approved awarding the contract bid to N-Trak Group.


The village’s liquor commission also met April 18 and considered Ordinance 17-22, amending the Village Code requirements for tobacco products, nicotine products and electronic cigarettes.

Management Analyst Dylan Moffitt explained that on Nov. 1, 2021, the village board originally adopted Ordinance 54-21, regulating tobacco and alternative nicotine products and establishing a tobacco and alternative nicotine retailer’s license.

Recently, he said the Winnebago County Health Department distributed a model tobacco and alternative products ordinance. “Staff has reviewed this ordinance and is recommending an amendment to the village’s definition of ‘tobacco products,’ and ‘electronic cigarettes.'”

Minor changes have been made, he continued, to include new provisions for the classification and enforcement of underage possession violations. If adopted, possession by minors will be prohibited and those found in violation of the provision will be subject to a fine not less than $50, but not more than $500, for any single offense. “Repeat offenders shall be subject to escalated fine amounts above $50 per offense,” he said.

The commission without discussion recommended approval of the ordinance and passed it along to the May 2 village board meeting. There, the board also without discussion and also unanimously, approved the ordinance on first reading. Second and final reading was expected at the May 16 meeting.

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