CRESTON — At the Tuesday meeting of the Creston Village Board, Village President Tom Byro said he was told by Village Engineer Kevin Bunge that preliminary work has begun on the quiet zone project to end train horns in Creston.
At last month’s meeting, the 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. Bunge will bring village trustees cost options to improve the crossings at a future meeting. Options will include putting medians at the intersections, if possible, that prevent vehicles from going in between train gates along and having train horns at the crossings rather than have the trains use their horns through 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.
“The quiet zone is just an ongoing progress,” Byro said. “We're seeing what ideas we can come up with. It's going to take at least a year if not two. By the time you get everyone involved, it could even be three years.”
The board held a first reading of its budget appropriations for fiscal year 2023 for future expenses. It will be voted on at Creston’s July meeting.
Village Treasurer Penny Payton said the current appropriations total is $659,255, which is “much the same” as it was last year. Payton asked board members to bring up any necessary changes, including possibly adding more money to the village’s utility funding plans with projects coming up such as well maintenance.
Byro also said Tuesday that he was told by Bunge that he hasn’t heard any updates on the application Creston submitted for an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Rebuild Illinois Main Street & Downtown grant for $780,000, $195,000 of which would be matched locally by the village if awarded.
The grant would include reconstruction of Creston’s downtown including new water mains and storm sewer, reconstruction of the street, all new sidewalks, curb and gutter, parking and more.
At previous meetings, Bunge has said the grant application process will take a year and if selected, Creston wouldn’t start construction or have to pay any costs until the latter part of 2023.
“Their answer could be late spring or early summer of next year,” Byro said.
Bunge also relayed to Byro that he’s prepared to work with Village Water Operator Mike Megurdichian on an upcoming well rehabilitation project whenever necessary.
At last month’s meeting, the board unanimously voted to move forward with well maintenance after a presentation by Megurdichian about Creston’s water wells. The work 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.
The design and permitting on a water main replacement project in Creston are also ongoing, Byro said Tuesday.
“We're rolling along with all these projects and I don't know when they're going to get done,” Byro said. “I was hoping to get some bids out for some of this stuff soon, at least for the water lines. But so far, no luck."
Village trustees discussed issues with Creston’s water that are being seen with chlorine similar to last year. Chlorine inputs are being raised to deal with ammonia issues. Village residents may taste or smell chlorine in their water and work on the issue is ongoing.
Village trustees discussed issues in Creston including people riding motorcycles and four wheelers on the streets and vandalism done to the village’s pump station and back side of its water tower on Monday.
The idea of asking the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office about having a deputy patrol in Creston was again brought up after brief discussions in recent meetings.
“I have not talked to the sheriff about a deputy possibly patrolling here, but I plan to,” Byro said.