The village board has agreed to proceed with a new sidewalk along Illinois 251, from Peachtree Circle to Shoreland Road, and resurfacing 4.04 miles of local streets under the village’s annual pavement maintenance program.

Action on the sidewalk work came Aug. 15 following an initial presentation by Village Engineer Chris Dopkins before the public improvement and safety (PISC) committee, chaired by Trustee James Kidd.

Given that this project was time-sensitive, due to it being scheduled in the later stages of the 2022 construction season, the committee’s positive, unanimous recommendation was immediately sent to the village for final approval at its meeting the same night. There it was part of the consent agenda, with other positive committee recommendations, and approved unanimously under one motion, with no discussion.

Usually, there is a two-week time lapse between committee recommendations and action by the village board.

The local street improvements followed the same route, first receiving support from the PISC and then going directly to the village for final approval.

Resolution 43-R-22 was the authority for the new sidewalk, covering eight-tenths of a mile, for the improvement under the Illinois Highway Code.

Engineer Dopkins explained that the resolution appropriated $575,000 in state Motor Fuel Tax funds for the sidewalk. “Essentially, we’re telling IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) that we are receiving $575,000 in MFT funds to be put toward the construction of a sidewalk on Illinois 251,” he said. The plan was to get the approved resolution into the hands of IDOT officials in the coming week.

Ancillary improvements that will be part of the sidewalk project include replacement of adjacent driveway aprons, curb and gutter, tree removals, structure adjustments and curb ramps, along with restoration and traffic control.

This year’s pavement maintenance program will cost the village $942,065.63.

Three contractors submitted bids led by the low quote of Rock Road Companies, based in Beloit, WI. Next was Curran Contracting Company, Crystal Lake, offering to do the work for $1.048 million, and William Charles Inc., out of Rockford, with a quote of $1.247 million.

The engineer’s estimate for this work was $1.066 million.

Dopkins said construction was expected to begin the end of August and be finished by the first week in October. A similar schedule is being followed for the sidewalk installation.

The project includes “a little bit of work outside the capabilities of the (village) public works department,” he told committee members. That included some storm water work along Shore Drive and a path over at the Burger King restaurant.

Otherwise, the pavement maintenance program calls for some Americans With Disability Act (ADA) ramp improvements where they are deficient, “which is pretty much everywhere in the project,” he said. “The ADA ramps in the Wexford subdivision and Windward subdivision, which are off Mitchell Road. They pose a little bit more of a challenge because of the grades up there. The topography is pretty steep and we have to maintain minimal grades going across those, so it starts to involve a bit more work to do that sidewalk replacement.”

Of the low bidding contractor, he said Rock Road Companies had been the the lowest responsive and responsible bidder for  village projects for probably the last five or six years. “They’ve done a very nice job and we recommend awarding the contract to them,” he said.

The committee followed with another unanimous voice vote of approval, with no discussion.

After those two action items, committee Chairman Kidd offered the only report from among the panel. He provided an update to member and Trustee Erick Beck who at the end of the July 18 meeting had expressed concern over the condition of a nearby crosswalk. Kidd told him since that meeting, the crosswalk’s stripes had been posted and paved onto the walkway, as had been requested.

Other business  

Later in the evening of Aug. 15, during the village board meeting, Mayor Steve Johnson stepped in so that the board would have a quorum. Three trustees were absent, leaving the mayor, and trustees Beck, Kidd and Aaron Wilson to make up the required four. Those absent were trustees Terri Bailey, Jake Schmidt and Joe Seipts.

Mayor Johnson opened his twice-monthly report by offering condolences from the village family to the family of Trustee Schmidt, on the death of his father.

He provided an update on the National Night Out celebration held Aug. 2 at Harlem High School, saying it was well attended and successful.

“A special shout out goes to everyone who helped put this event together and devoted their time,” he said. “Especially the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, Machesney Division; Loves Park police, Harlem-Roscoe Fire Department and North Park Fire. Thank you very much.”

Finance and Human Resources Manager Michelle Johannsen provided the quarterly investment report for the village. Total interest earned for the quarter (April to June) was $17,033, an increase of $4,500 compared to the prior quarter and $7,100 more than the same quarter in the previous year.

“As you’ve seen in the news, we are currently in a rising interest rate environment,” she reported. “The Federal Reserve has increased rates in May and June, and again at the end of July. Things are always a little slow to respond on the investment side. However, Illinois Bank and Trust has been regularly monitoring our interest rate and provided two interest rate increases over the past two months. The current interest rate as of July is 0.6 percent.”

In addition, the village transferred $1 million in general fund money and $1 million of CIP (capital improvement program) funds from Illinois Bank and Trust to Illinois Funds. That was done in July, she said, “to earn additional interest at 1.6 percent, to also further diversify the balances the village has.”

Road projects  

Village Engineer Chris Dopkins provided an update on the village’s two primary road improvements projects from the summer of 2022.

Everything should be in order on Harlem Road, between Schnuck’s grocery and Illinois 251, by the start of the 2022-23 school year in Machesney Park.

“From here on out, things should move along a little bit quicker because there’s just not that as much to do,” he said.

The Indigo Lane improvements project currently is seeing curb and sidewalk work. “I think there’s a good chance that we will actually be completed with the project by the end of this month, which will be five weeks ahead of schedule,” he said. “So, things went pretty well out there.” 

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