Every time I drive by McHenry County’s only Park and Ride lot at the intersection of Route 31 and Virginia Street Road, I wonder about its justification.
Certainly there was government-owned land as the path of Virginia Street Road was moved from a closer to direct connection to Kalsen Road to one where Virginia Street Road meets Route 31 at a right angle.
The intersection of Virginia Street Road has been modified twice.
The second time it was being designed the Illinois Department of Transportation was not considering a light at Klasen Road until I told them Fox Trails Residents in Cary couldn’t get onto Route 31 at Algonquin Road at the top of the hill next to the cemetery.
A complaint was made at a 1992 coffee held for me in Fox Trails when I was running for State Representative the second time around.
The engineers pulled out their historical maps and decided that a light was needed.
The second time the intersection was move when Route 31 was turned into four lanes left more vacant, government-owned land south of Virginia Street Road.
At some point the idea to put a park and ride lot surfaced.
Most of the money came from the IDOT money pot.
Almost $100,000 was spent with Civilteck Engineering to supervise its construction.
The result is an empty parking lot, not just on weekends, but every day.
Talk keeps coming up regarding the need for a salt storage facility in the southeastern part of McHenry County.
Little or no consideration seems to have been given to farming out snow removal to local municipalities through which or near which county roads run, as County Board member Mike Walkup suggested before he won the GOP nomination for County Board Chairman.
That’s because the County Highway Department was moved from the corner of Country Club Road and Route 47 in Woodstock to the decidedly geographically not centrally location across from the Valley Hi Nursing Home where it now sits.
Cheap land, but cheap for the reason of its location is far from the population center of McHenry County.
County officials gave the public no idea where the favored site for a new salt dispensing facility was located.
Top secret. Hush, hush, don’t you know.
But McHenry County Blog ferreted out the location–the Eisenmann complex on Virginia Street Road in Crystal Lake.
Taking a major building off the Crystal Lake Grade and High School, not to mention Park District and city tax rolls…what a concept to discuss in secret.
After that fell through, specifications for the location for a new salt barn were so restrictive, I figured a favored land owner had already been selected.
Take a read of the County Transportation’s press release:
“site must have direct access to either a State Route or County Highway and must be located south of Illinois Route 176 and east of Illinois Route 47.”
“Why so restrictive?” I asked myself.
Why would a site on Main Street in Crystal Lake be unacceptable?
Or a site on a township road like Pingree Road?
In any event, my conspiratorial view of McHenry County government was proven wrong when no site was put forward.
No pressure this past year probably because snowfall was so low, but the issue will come up again.
And, unless a newly-elected County Board Chairman named Mike Walkup can figure out how to dissuade the Transportation Department and Committee to take another path to solve the problem, McDOT may be again looking for a location to build a new salt barn.
If that’s the case, one of the possible places should be all or part of the largely unused Park and Ride lot pictured above.
Needless to say, this is not the first time this suggestion has been made.