Creston Board: Village to look at railroad quiet zones

During its Tuesday meeting, the Creston Village Board discussed the idea of working to get its railroad crossings considered “quiet zones” in the future

Downtown grant application completed

CRESTON — During its Tuesday meeting, the Creston Village Board discussed the idea of working to get its railroad crossings considered “quiet zones” in the future.

Village Trustee Curt Ward said train horns are one of the “ongoing” complaints the village receives from residents and he wants to start pursuing quiet zones for crossings after recent sidewalk work improved crossings and made quiet zones more feasible. 

Localities desiring to establish a quiet zone are first required to mitigate the increased risk caused by the absence of a horn. Raised medians are often placed between lanes in front of both sides of the tracks to prevent the possibility a vehicle could attempt to go between lowered gates. 

Ward said to start work on quiet zones, the village would have to file notices with the Illinois Commerce Commission and the railroad. The first step would be asking Village Engineer Kevin Bunge to work up a cost estimate for the project. A diagnostic meeting on site with all parties is required. 

The village would have to make all three of its railroad crossings quiet zones, Ward said. They include Woodlawn Road, Main Street and Transit Street. Ward said the most feasible scenario would be to make Transit Street a one way due to it being narrow. The other two crossings would have center medians installed.  

“I think it's a great idea,” Village President Tom Byro said. “It could take probably over two years.

Downtown grant

Byro said during the meeting that the village has completed its application for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Rebuild Illinois Main Street & Downtown grant it plans to apply for. 

The village’s application includes a $650,000 reconstruction of its downtown including new water main and storm sewer, reconstruction of the street, all new sidewalks, curb and gutter, parking and more. The village has resolved to commit $160,000 in matching funds if it were to receive the grant. 

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. 

Part of the application process is predicated on COVID-19 impacts to downtowns and Byro said the Creston-Dement Public Library and Headon’s Fine Meats Owner and Village Trustee Mark Hibshman have provided testimony about how the pandemic negatively affected them. 

“Hopefully those things will help us along,” Byro said. “I think everything is going well.”

Water meter reader

Byro said the village has received its new water meter reader equipment. Creston had been charging estimated water rates recently and asked residents to read meters themselves. 

The village will now hire a water meter reader operator and do training to “get everything going.” Byro hopes that everything will be in place for the village to read meters by February. 

“We have a couple people that live in town that are interested in helping us do it,” Byro said. “We're going to get those people lined up and this equipment running. We will let people know there will be a new meter reader. It's a very important thing.”’

Snow plow truck

Byro said the village’s snow plow truck is out of service at the moment after brake lines went out on it on Jan. 2. The truck was towed to Prescott Brothers Ford to be repaired and could cost $700-800 or even “around $1,000.” 

“That truck is a 2003,” Byro said. “We're going to put more money in that pickup. But we need it. We've had people helping out in the meantime and so far, so good. Everything is going well."

Insurance

The board unanimously approved insurance for the village for 2022. The total cost was $11,828, up $40 from last year with the same policy structure. Byro said the only thing that may change with the insurance is the addition of internet security insurance, which he’s discussed with the village’s insurer. 

“You never know when you're going to get hacked,” Byro said. “DeKalb got hacked. He said he'd check into that and get back to me. We can add that to the policy if we have to.”

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