On Wednesday, January 13th the Economic Development Committee planned to hold a regular meeting at the Municipal Building. The meeting was scheduled in Council Chambers expecting a larger turnout than normal due to planned discussion of the East Lincoln Highway Corridor. The Planning Committee was unable to officially conduct the regular meeting due to a lack of a quorum but committee members present did discuss the issue with approximately 20 citizens who were in attendance.
City Staff had prepared a spreadsheet for the group, specifying how and where money had been spent on East Lincoln Hwy. over the past 5 years. Discussion ensued over the numbers and whether or not money spent off of Lincoln Highway such as wayside train horns and road work from Peace to Loves Rd. should be included in the totals. Staff did agree that only approximately half of the monies outlined were spent on properties East of 7th Street to Peace Road.
The City spent $90,000 in 2005 on an East Lincoln Highway Corridor engineering plan. That plan was not followed up on however, as more citizens disagreed than agreed with it’s plan for a ‘road diet,’ narrowing Lincoln Hwy. to two lanes and adding a landscaped center median.
Questions were raised about the feasibility of burying the unsightly overhead utility wires on East Lincoln Highway. City staff gave the price of approximately $400,000 per block to bury the overhead wires. Because the stretch that would need to be buried is quite long and funding is not immediately available for that purpose, staff suggested the group concentrate more on smaller projects that could be accomplished.
Resident Kay Shelton informed the group that there were volunteers ready to implement her idea of planting flowers along the corridor such as is done in Dixon.
City staff have identified properties on East Lincoln Hwy. where smaller growing trees could be planted as a welcoming entrance to the City. Because of very little City right of way along East Lincoln Hwy. most trees would need to be planted on private property. Staff suggested those in attendance meet and approach those private property owners to determine if an agreement could be made with most of those residents for the City to plant trees on their properties. The City would maintain them for the first couple of years and then they would be turned over to the residents. Approximately $32,000 is left of Grant monies that could be used to purchase the trees.
Residents in attendance collected contact information and will be meeting in the near future to discuss the plans.