ROCHELLE — The City of Rochelle began the process of an attempt to build a shared use path and pedestrian bridge over the Kyte River and North of Illinois Route 38 at its Monday meeting.
After recent conversations with the owner of 1211 Brookside Drive and the realtor currently engaged in the sale of said property an opportunity arose to begin acquisition of city easements necessary for the possible future project. The easement identified herein is one of three easements necessary for the construction outside of the Route 38 right-of-way.
The acquisition is intended to happen over the next couple of weeks with the new owner of 1211 Brookside Drive. If the acquisition is successful, city staff will begin discussions with the other parcel owners to acquire other necessary easements.
The council authorized City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh to execute an easement agreement not to exceed $6,000 plus closing cost and fees in a 5-0 vote that saw Mayor John Bearrows (professional real estate involvement) and Councilman Tom McDermott (family ties to sale) abstain.
City Engineer Sam Tesreau said the city has had a desire to put a bridge in the area for a decade.
“This is the first step towards acquiring these easements,” Tesreau said. “A number of individuals have been before this council in the past seeking our help in trying to facilitate the construction of a pedestrian bridge. Now’s the time to strike while the iron is hot.”
Tesreau said the project would require permits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which is a one-year process.
The council approved a Class S liquor license for the Shell station at 505 W. Illinois Route 38 by a vote of 5-2 with Councilwoman Kate Shaw-Dickey and Councilman Bil Hayes voting against it.
The Class S license allows for the retail sale of packaged beer and wine, not for consumption on the premises where sold. There are now a total of three Class S liquor licenses in the City of Rochelle.
“I wasn’t opposed to giving them this license and they’re one of our few left that don’t have it,” Bearrows said. “They want to compete with the rest of the quick stops in town. It should be fair.”
The Class S license does not allow video gaming. Councilman Dan McDermott said he believes the business will come to the city requesting a gaming license at some point.
“If we don’t want to end up with every possible building in the world having some kind of alcohol and gaming, as a council we have to talk about having a cap on how many we’re going to have,” McDermott said.
“Agreed,” Shaw-Dickey said. “I think we need to decide that before we get to a point where we feel we’ve gone too far. It’s hard to backtrack once you’ve gotten there.
Bearrows read a proclamation during the meeting recognizing National Police Week 2021 from May 9-15, which honors the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty while protecting communities.
Bearrows also proclaimed the week of May 16-22 National Public Works Week, honoring the city’s employees and their importance to infrastructure and services in the community.