ROCHELLE — The Loves Travel Stop development project continues to move forward following a bid approval for the IL Rte. 251 and Steward Road infrastructure improvements.
Rochelle City Council approved the bid from William Charles Construction for $1.19 million for road widening to accommodate three lanes as well as traffic signals that are required and approved by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation.
City engineer Sam Tesreau explained the agreement between the city and Loves Travel Stops includes reimbursement for 100 percent of the roadway improvements along with streetlights installed by RMU.
Due to favorable contract prices on asphalt, Tesreau recommended council approve negotiations up to an additional $240,000 to resurface a portion of Steward Road. He explained the additional $240,000, or 20 percent of the project is a provision included in the contract.
“We’ve got some really good contract prices on the asphalt…Steward Road has been identified in our planning for a few years now as recommendation for resurfacing. Now is the time to do it,” Tesreau said. “If we go out for bids separately again next year or the following year, those prices can be up 20 to 30 percent again. Now would be the time to go ahead and add it on. We are asking for your approval to allow us to have that flexibility to negotiate up to $240,000 to resurface a portion of Steward Road.”
Tesreau added the resurfacing would be about 600 feet away from South Main Street, which would be included in on a separate construction project next year.
Following a public hearing, the Rochelle Planning and Zoning ended in a split vote of 3-3 regarding the Kennay Farms Distilling, LLC barrel storage facility along Sixth Street.
Those commissioners voting against the recommendation cited concerns about the building taking up retail space and would resemble a warehouse, and the design would not fit with the downtown historical district.
Building inspector Kip Countryman said Rick and Doris Kennay petitioned to subdivide four lots into one and requested variance of the interior parkway and buffer yard requirement along with foundation planting to allow the building to have a zero setback on the west and north end to allow for maximum storage space.
Councilman John Bearrows said one of the sticking points from the planning commissioners is the concern about retail.
“I think our job is to try and promote our community as well as the downtown. I think if you are going to bring this many people downtown it’s going to do nothing but enhance the retail that is there and will do nothing but drive prices of buildings up that are there,” Councilman John Bearrows said. “People want to be where there is activity. This is a no brainer in my mind.”
Councilman Tom McDermott weighed in also.
“We keep telling people we want to save the downtown, we keep wanting to get something going, but we keep finding ways to trip them up,” McDermott said. “We are replacing two converted residences and a one-story warehouse with something that is going to look better. I’d like to thank the Kennays for having the gumption for their efforts into the downtown.”
Council members approved the motion unanimously.