Below is the fall quarterly letter from Lakewood Village President Erin Smith:
From the President
While summer is vacation season for many, it is traditionally a busy time in municipal government as we undertake a number of initiatives. Primary among these this year is our roadway program on Lakewood Road and Lake Avenue. As with any Public Works project, it has been inconvenient for the residents impacted, and we thank you for your patience and understanding. A special thank you to the Crystal Lake Park District for their cooperation as the Lake Avenue project impacted their operations at West Beach. It is our hope that the projects will be substantially completed by the time you receive this newsletter, but please reference the Village’s website for the most up to date information.
Following is a summary of issues and projects affecting our community.
Intersection of Illinois Route 47 and Route 176
During the past several weeks, a number of residents have asked about the 40 acre parcel of land purchased by the Village of Lakewood at the southwestern leg of the intersection of Illinois Route 47 and Route 176.
Given the misinformation that has been disseminated about this intersection, it is incumbent upon me to insure that you have accurate information.
The Simple Facts
The Village of Lakewood purchased the 40 acre parcel of land to provide the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) with the right-of-way needed to construct intersection improvements.
- The land has not been given away, nor do we plan to give it away. It is fully our intent to sell the land to a future developer at a profit.
- Based on the preliminary engineering plans provided by IDOT, the right-of-way needed for the intersection improvements will still allow significant development to occur on the property.
- There is an urgent need to improve this intersection, as it has historically been listed as one of the top 5% most dangerous intersections in the state.
- There will not be significant economic development at this location without intersection improvements.
The odds of obtaining financial commitments for roadway improvements increase exponentially when municipalities demonstrate a shared commitment. Purchasing land and providing IDOT with the necessary right-of-way at no cost is one way that the Village of Lakewood has demonstrated its shared commitment to this project. Lowering the cost for IDOT makes this project more feasible and also contributes positively to the financial health of our state. Providing letters of support from neighboring communities,
McHenry County, and state legislators was another way in which we demonstrated our shared commitment to and support of this project. At meetings in Springfield, representatives of IDOT called the proposal a template for intergovernmental cooperation and public-private partnerships.
If you have additional questions about this topic, a copy of the letter sent to Governor Rauner outlining our commitments related to this project is posted on our website for your reference.
East Sewer Project
The Village of Lakewood has previously communicated plans to install a new sewer main on the East Side of the community and redirect the effluent currently being treated at a Crystal Lake sewer treatment plant to the Village’s sewer treatment plant on Haligus Road. A bid opening on April 21resulted in two submissions, each of which was much higher than had been anticipated.
Staff spoke with both of the contractors who submitted proposals and those who requested bid packets but did not submit proposals.
There were clearly two primary reasons for the escalation in costs.
First, the time needed to obtain a low interest loan from the State of Illinois delayed the process such that contractors had already secured their work for the summer and fall construction seasons. Several contractors expressed strong interest in the project but would not be able to start until late fall.
The second issue was the “uncertainty” surrounding the project given the variable water table on the East Side. There are relatively minor modifications that can be made to the specifications to address these issues. For example, the lift station can be moved further east to minimize the length of gravity sewer, thus decreasing the depth that the contractors have to dig to install the pipe.
These modifications are being made to the engineering plans, and our goal is to re-bid the project in early fall and begin construction in late fall and work throughout the winter. The winter edition of the newsletter will include more specific information.
Special Service Area #1/Special Service Area #8
During the past year, the Village of Lakewood began to distribute information about the expiration of Special Service Area (SSA) #1 in Fiscal Year 2015 – 2016, which impacts residents of the Turnberry subdivisions. As a part of this informational campaign, the Board of Trustees asked the affected residents for direction about what formal mechanism – if any – should be established for the ongoing care and maintenance of the Turnberry Lakes upon the expiration of SSA #1. Many residents took an active role in this process, and they should all be recognized for their hard work and extraordinary efforts. Numerous options were explored by the residents and, based on an informal survey, it appears that there is strong support for the creation of a new SSA (#8).
At the meeting on July 14, the Board of Trustees approved “An Ordinance Proposing the Establishment of Special Service Area Number 8 Within the Village of Lakewood and Providing for a Public Hearing and Other Procedures in Connection Therewith the Properties Commonly Known as the “McIntosh” Turnberry, Loch Glen and Highlands of Turnberry Subdivisions, Turnberry Country Club, and RedTail Golf Club.” A copy of this Ordinance is available on the website or may be picked up at Village Hall.
While we believe there is strong support for the creation of a new SSA, we also recognize that the support is not unanimous. Therefore, while not legally required to do so, a copy of an objection petition is available at Village Hall. A formal Public Hearing will be held on September 22 at 7:00 p.m. at RedTail Golf Course.
State of Illinois
This newsletter was sent to the printer near the end of August and, at that time, there was still a budget impasse in Springfield. Recognizing that this was a distinct possibility, the Board of Trustees approved a very conservative budget, as has been our practice. The only direct impact to date is the withholding of Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds that are dedicated for roadway improvements. We continue to monitor the situation carefully and believe that any agreement on a new budget for the State of Illinois will include a combination of increased revenues for the State of Illinois; decreased revenues for local units of government; and decreased services across the board.
On a positive note, we continue to experience strong growth in the number of new single family homes and townhomes being built within the community. In Fiscal Year 2014 – 2015, a total of 15 permits were issued for new single family homes and 8 permits for townhomes. The greatest concentration of these permits is at Woodland Hills and The Highlands at RedTail. However, there has also been renewed interest in The Reserve ofLakewood and at scattered sites throughout the community. For the current fiscal year, we have forecasted that permits for 20 new single family homes will be issued. With all of the housing options that individuals have, we truly appreciate the decision to buy or build a home in our community. We will continue to strive to make the Village of Lakewood the premier community in which to live or locate a business.
Finally, thank you for the positive feedback we have received about posting all of our bi-weekly Board packets online. It is just one of our ongoing initiatives to make every effort to keep our residents informed. Best wishes to you and your families as our community celebrates the start of a new school year. Please remember to drive carefully and pay particular attention to school children and buses!