Creston board: Engineering for quiet zones at rail crossings approved

At its Tuesday meeting, the Creston Village Board unanimously voted to spend $10,400 on engineering to start the process of possibly getting the village's railroad crossings turned into "quiet zones" to end train horns in Creston.

Trustees approve moving forward with well maintenance

CRESTON — At its Tuesday meeting, the Creston Village Board unanimously voted to spend $10,400 on engineering to start the process of possibly getting the village's railroad crossings turned into "quiet zones" to end train horns in Creston.

Village Engineer Kevin Bunge will bring village trustees cost options to improve the crossings at a future meeting. Trustees said Tuesday that the most cost-effective option would be putting medians at the intersections, if possible, that prevent vehicles from going in between train gates.

Another option would involve having train horns at the crossings rather than have the trains use their horns through the village. Trustee Curt Ward said that option is more expensive than medians, but would reduce the footprint of train horns in the village.

The village will also have to meet with larger organizations and have them sign off on the eventual project, which could take at least a year. If the cost estimates of doing the project come back as too expensive, the board is not committed to spending past the $10,400 in engineering it approved Tuesday.

Trustee Greg Hopkins led the meeting in Village President Tom Byro's absence Tuesday and said train horns are the main complaint from Creston residents.

"I say we keep moving forward with this," Trustee Wayne Williams said. "The citizens, that's what they want and what they've been complaining about."

Water

Village Water Operator Mike Megurdichian presented a report at the meeting and talked about maintenance needed by Creston's water wells. Following the report, the board unanimously voted to move forward with well maintenance, which will likely take place after summer is over.

Creston has two wells (well two and well three). Well three was drilled in 1980 and has never been pulled to be examined for maintenance. Pulling well three means replacements to its equipment will be made at a cost of $40,000. The bid to make those improvements would include a backup plan in case the village's other well was unusable during the time of well three being maintenanced.

Well two maintenance could easily cost $100,000, Megurdichian said. That was last done in 1996.

"Right now both wells are producing to specification," Megurdichian said. "It's not cheap as you can see. It's not an emergency. But I think it's something you need to be looking at. I've run these wells for a long time. Things can go fine, and then in a week I start seeing production drop off and we have to deal with it."

Megurdichian also discussed work the village will have to do in the future to determine if lead water service lines are going into homes in Creston, which is mandated by the state.

By next April, the village will have to determine the material of service lines from the water main to its box and then from the box the water meter and from the meter into a home. Once all communities in the state turn in that data, the state will mandate that all found lead service lines be removed and replaced.

"I think you're going to need help from the residents as far as getting access and determining whether it's lead, copper or galvanized plastic," Megurdichian said.

Bunge said grants could come out for the village to use to pay for the replacement of lead service lines or Creston could use an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan if needed.

Billing

After putting a new water meter system in and using estimated bills in recent months, Village Clerk Jennifer Payton said Monday that some bills have been high to make up for the difference of recent months after accurate readings were taken in the past month.

The village board unanimously voted to waive late fees for the next six months to work with the residents that will have to pay off the high amounts.

Library

A representative from the Creston Dement Public Library District attended the meeting and spoke to the board about a June 28 referendum for $2.2 million for a new library in Creston.

"We need a building of our own and one that's big enough to serve our population," the library representative said. "With this referendum, the taxes for an average $100,000 house would go up by $70 a year. That's two books."

Truck routes

The board unanimously adopted a new truck route ordinance that will keep semi-trucks off undesired streets in the village. The truck route is Woodlawn Road, Main Street from Illinois Route 38 south to the intersection of Depot Street westbound and then Depot Street from Center Street to Prairie Street.

Trucks are only allowed off the truck routes for food, fuel and deliveries. Signs will be installed by the village in the near future.

"We're having a big issue with cut-through traffic and the over-the-road drivers going down streets that were never designed for that kind of weight," Ward said.

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