City council: Flagg Road and 20th Street intersection improvements planned

Well 8 engineering costs approved

Jeff Helfrich
Posted 2/14/22

At its Monday meeting, the Rochelle City Council unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with Ogle County for future improvements to the Flagg Road and 20th Street intersection.

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City council: Flagg Road and 20th Street intersection improvements planned

Well 8 engineering costs approved


ROCHELLE — At its Monday meeting, the Rochelle City Council unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with Ogle County for future improvements to the Flagg Road and 20th Street intersection. 

Over the past several months, Ogle County Engineer Jeremy Ciesiel and City Engineer Sam Tesreau and public works staff have discussed the need for improvements to the intersection including, but not limited to, permanent signals, mast arms, a new controller box, geometric improvements to allow for additional turning lanes and pavement widening along 20th Street south of Flagg Road.

Flagg Road belongs to Ogle County and 20th Street is under the city’s jurisdiction. 

The county board approved its part of the IGA at its meeting in January. It will allow the city and county to collaborate on an engineering agreement and proceed with the initial phase of engineering to determine the needs for right of way, specific road improvements, plans and specifications and estimate of costs. Engineering will also help determine financial responsibility for the ultimate cost of construction and additional phases of the multi-year project.

The initial project phase has been programmed in the city’s 2022 capital improvement plan budget. 

The intersection was partially improved in 2009 along with the Kings Crossing subdivision and temporary signals were installed along with partial geometric improvements and pavement widening primarily on the north side of Flagg Road. Since that time, two major developments have occurred within the subdivision: the Rochelle Elementary Lincoln School campus as well as the Liberty Village campus.

In 2010, the county improved and widened Flagg Road from Illinois Route 251 to 600 feet east of 20th Street to a four-lane section. Much of the rural ditch section was replaced with curb and gutter and storm sewer drainage systems as part of the county project. The city also participated in the installation of a pedestrian sidewalk from Illinois Route 251 to Wendell Drive. The annual average daily traffic counts at the intersection are estimated at nearly 5,000 vehicles per day.

Liquor license

The council unanimously approved an amendment to an ordinance it approved at its last meeting deleting one class B liquor license and creating one class B liquor license. 

The new license was granted to Kevin Crandall and Shane Erdman for the business at 417 Cherry Ave., which they will purchase officially this week. The Cherry Avenue business is currently Sissy’s Wild Card Saloon, owned by Ken Rosenkrans. When the council approved the ordinance last month, the sale of the business was not finalized and Monday’s amendment changed the license deletion and new license approval date to the date of closing on the sale of the business. 

The amendment will have no impact on the city’s total number of liquor licenses for class B. The class B liquor license allows for the retail sale on the premises of specified alcoholic liquor as well as other packaged retail sale of liquor.

Well Eight

The council unanimously approved the retention of Fehr Graham for $430,000 worth of engineering services related to the city’s Well Eight project. 

The well on Caron Road was drilled and developed in the 1960s and has been used as a backup since the 1990s due to elevated levels of iron in the water. The city has planned an iron removal plant over many years since the high-capacity well is centrally-located in the industrialized area of town. 

The project would construct an iron removal pressure filter plant and be able to remove radium if that ever becomes a problem with the well. Upon completion of the project, the well could be put online and would help the city to avoid drilling and developing another well. 

The city and Rochelle Municipal Utilities are currently pursuing a grant to help fund the project and any remaining cash needs will be funded through a loan program with the state EPA. 

A rate study is currently underway and the city plans to estimate the cost impact of the project on each customer class. The most current engineer’s cost estimate for the full project is $4.6 million.

RMU Utilities Superintendent Adam Lanning said the well is the last that needs improvements after work has been done on other city wells in recent years. 

“After this, we'll be putting out some pretty clean water,” Lanning said. “We'll have two radium and iron removal plants on each side of the town and now one in the center. We're going to do thorough pilot testing to make sure we don't miss any potential problems in the water quality because this well hasn't run in 30 years.”

Dump trucks

The council approved the purchase of two Kenworth dump trucks for the city’s street department at a combined cost of $490,550.51 by a vote of 6-0 with councilwoman Kate Shaw-Dickey abstaining. 

One will be a single-axle dump truck and the other is a tandem-axle dump truck. Each truck will be equipped with stainless steel hydraulic dump bodies and snowplow packages. 

Street Department Superintendent Tim Isley said he’s been satisfied with two Kenworth trucks purchased in 2019 and he’s seen improvements in dependability and performance. 

The new trucks were purchased from CIT Trucks, LLC in Rockford through Sourcewell, a governmental unit providing competitively-solicited cooperative contracts ready for use by governmental entities.

The new trucks will replace existing 2003 and 2005 International dump trucks. 

“We're just having a ton of problems with our Internationals,” Isley said. “Those are always the lowest priced trucks on state bids. We might save a few thousand dollars by going that way, but it's costing us way more in the end. I have two trucks down right now. One has been out for three weeks and one has been out for two. They're sitting in line waiting to get fixed.”

RMU program

The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh to modify the RMU assistance program. 

RMU currently offers up to $300 annual utility assistance for customers that are at or below the 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The resolution will temporarily modify the annual utility assistance by increasing the amount to $500 for customers that are at or below the 200 percent  of federal poverty level for the duration of six months. 

In 2019, 109 customers received assistance from the program totaling $32,700. In 2020, 79 customers received $39,500 and in 2021, 84 customers received $42,000 in assistance. The program is funded by the sale of renewable energy credits generated by the Rochelle Energy Center at the landfill.

“As the numbers show, 2021 was much higher for those who needed assistance and I'm very proud of the fact that we have our own utilities and we're able to step up and do some things internally to help folks,” Mayor John Bearrows said.

Inman sworn in

New Rochelle Police Department Deputy Chief Terry Inman was sworn in during the meeting. Inman replaces Jeff Leininger, who retired last month.

Employees of RPD and Inman’s family were in attendance to see him sworn in. 

“The trust that the city has bestowed on me over the last 20 years and now as deputy chief, it humbles me and I'm also very humbled by the turnout tonight,” Inman said. “I'm excited about the future and the direction the department is going in."

State of the community

Bearrows said he and Fiegenschuh plan to do their annual state of the community update in-person and live on Facebook on March 10 at noon.