Airport work a go

Pictured above is the 25-acre lot and future home of Johnson Tractor, situated directly to the new Love’s Travel Plaza along Steward Road and IL Route 251 just south of Interstate 88. Johnson Tractor petitioned the city for a variance of a sign ordinance to allow three ground pylon signs. One sign is to be located on the northeast edge of the property at a height of 12 feet, one located at the entrance off of Steward Road at a height of 28 feet and an addition at the second entrance off of Steward Road at a height of 29 feet. Council approved the variance as requested.

Signage variance also approved for future home of Johnson Tractor on Steward Road

ROCHELLE — City officials in Rochelle approved several authorizations paving the way for the airport’s taxiway reconstruction project, which is set to begin in July.

The approvals authorize City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh to execute an intergovernmental agreement with the State of Illinois as well as payment of the city’s local share of the project. 

Prior pavement hardness evaluation studies conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation determined the taxiway used to access several hangars is in need of rehabilitation. 

The federal and state will fund 95 percent of the $253,620 project, which was awarded to the lowest bidder — Martin and Company. The city’s financial share of the project is $12,531.

Airport manager Mike Hudetz explained more on the other two projects slated for this year.

“We have half of the center ramp asphalt being replaced with concrete; that begins on May 1,” he started. “Also, we are resurfacing 4,500 feet of asphalt, removing taxiway Alpha and reconstructing it 150 feet to the west of its current position (per FAA mandate), rewiring all runway lights with counterpoise lightning protection and then repainting the runway markings on the entire 5,001-foot runway and on the new taxiway. This project is expected to start Sept. 5, 2019.”

Council also approved an ordinance for a signage variance for Johnson Tractor’s new location at 300 Steward Road. Rochelle Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend Council approve the measure during their meeting last week. 

The variance will allow three ground pylon signs; one at a height of 12 feet visible to I-88 traffic on the northeast edge of the property, along with one 28 feet high at the entrance and an additional sign 29 feet high at the second entrance. 

Council member Tom Bearrows indicted the sign ordinances within the city might not necessarily pertain to businesses with either I-88 or I-39 visibility; he discussed this particular ordinance might be one to be modified in the future to accommodate future businesses relocating to Rochelle without the need to petition for a sign variance.

Council approved a resolution authorizing the reimbursement of a water filter system purchased by Bright Farms. The grower utilizes Well 8 as a backup during routine maintenance of the water system or emergency situations, which is known to contain high levels of iron. This has caused issues with their ultraviolet light system and has been temporarily alleviated with a rented filtration system.

“Bright Farms is looking to expand, but their corporate team has concerns about future issues with this well,” said City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh. “Two weeks ago, they approached Mayor Olson and staff about reimbursing the company for the costs of purchasing and permanently installing the filtration system. Bright Farms claims that the system has worked, and they have not had any issues when well 8 runs.”

Fiegenschuh added although the well is out of operation, the agreement is a good faith effort to assist Bright Farms. The approved agreement is for an amount not to exceed $65,000 and stipulates this is the only assistance the city will participate in.


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