Millions still needed to complete work in Pecatonica
By Chris Johnson
Residents of the village of Pecatonica have begun to notice a little bit of a change on the area roadways. Ahead of a busy summer of activity in the western Winnebago County community, street work is being completed and residents are taking notice.
Construction projects on stretches of residential paths as well as commerce lanes behind downtown businesses are just some of the areas already completed.
More work is still going to be happening and only a portion of it can actual be started. Funding constraints and weather conditions both played roles in keeping things slowed down on some of the formerly, less than axle-friendly pathways.
Wrapping up projects with new coats of blacktop is only the beginning. A comprehensive street improvement plan was presented to village Trustees and Village President Bill Smull.
According to Jason Stoll with the village of Pecatonica’s engineering firm, Fehr-Grahm, ways are being sought to pursue more funding for the many projects that have to be completed.
Grants are a major option, if a community can be patient enough. The process of requesting money from the State and Federal Governments isn’t a speedy thing Stoll explained.
“We are always looking for grants and creative ways to spend grant dollars. But, unfortunately, it’s a long applications process and there is a lot of competition for that money.”
The village of Pecatonica’ Fiscal Year Budget has allowed for more than a million dollars to be spent on fixing residential and business lanes this year, as well as some curb, gutter and sidewalk projects.
But that will be just a portion of what can be completed. “The dollars come up short to get everything done.” Village President Bill Smull had previously expressed. “There just isn’t enough money to get everything completed.”
As an example, one half-block construction project with road, curb, gutter and striping has been estimated to easily push past the hundreds of thousands dollars range. That doesn’t include the underground water and sewer network.
Work will be commencing though, even as the village sees a heavier foot load of traffic through more active summer months. Challenged road conditions such as those west of Main Street along Seventh and Fourth Streets are scheduled for attention this year
Getting around to everything that needs to be handled isn’t as quick of a process and the expense grows, according to Pecatonica Village Trustee Marilyn Wilke. Even if it isn’t just for the roads.
“A project like our water tower, having to get it in line to avoid penalties from the EPA, used to cost around $500,000. Now it’s closer to $900,000.”
The process is slow because a lot of projects need attention. Many sidewalks and curbs will also be receiving due focus this summer in the village of Pecatonica, Smull expressed.
Improvements in other areas of municipal administration are also seeing an expected, associated cost increase. Technology isn’t cheap, some would explain.
The Pecatonica Village Board approved the down payment towards the purchase of new digital equipment for the Public Works Department.
SCADA is Upgrade Software from PDC Automation. In order to access the services and begin implementation, a down payment of just under $18,000 was required. Action was taken towards the request.
The Pecatonica Village Board meets on the third Thursday of every month as the Committee of The Whole at 6:30 pm. A Special Session of the body as Village Trustees, follows the planning commission meeting.
Residents are encouraged to speak to their elected officials, if they wish. Sign-up, prior to gavel drop, is required though. Topics such as summer activities, communication and mosquito-suppression are expected to be presented at upcoming meetings.

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