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Minooka board approves purchase of more than 66 acres

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

MINOOKA – The village of Minooka was able to purchase more than 66 acres of land at a cost of $10,000 per acre. Much less than their last land purchase at $40,000 per acre, said Trustee Dennis Martin.

Trustees approved the purchase in a 6-0 vote Tuesday night during the village’s regular board meeting. The property is located on Sherril Road just east of Grove Road and is being bought from Willard Harper Jr.

The property will be used for water retention in the industrial and commercial area of Brisbin Road and also can be developed into open space for use by residents.

“I think it’s a great acquisition,” Martin said.

One large retention pond servicing the entire area eliminates the need for each developer to incorporate retention ponds, saving them valuable property space, Village Administrator Dan Duffy said.

The village purchases the property upfront and developers will each pay for a portion in the future. In the meantime, the village will rent out the land for agricultural use until development happens in the area.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” Duffy said.

The purchase fits in with the village’s comprehensive plan, which calls for 20 percent open space, Martin said.

Lions Park bike path plans move forward

The bike path through Lions Park on McEvilly Road, which will eventually connect the villages of Channahon and Minooka, is one step closer now that the design phase has been approved.

Minooka trustees unanimously gave approval to Robinson Engineering to begin phase two of the project at a cost not to exceed $96,367.

The multi-use path on McEvilly Road starts at the Minooka High School Central Campus and ends at Lions Park. This phase of the path project will connect that portion to the path down the road at Vista Commons subdivision.

The plan is to one day connect it to Channahon’s bike path at Heritage Lake subdivision.

The majority of funds have been obtained, but the village still is short, Duffy said.

Mayor Pat Brennan has been looking at other funding options and has talked with both Will and Grundy county officials to get them involved, Duffy added.

The path passes through both counties.

The path has been a priority for the village, Brennan said, adding the current road is a hazard for people to walk and bike on.

Park security being considered

Security cameras at Lions and Summit parks are being considered after vandalism occurred at both parks the last two summers.

Vandals first cut down soccer nets at Lions Park. Later, both park bathrooms sustained damage including broken glass block windows, doors ripped from hinges and mud spattered on the walls.

If used, the system could have multiple cameras at each location with the capability to record video, according to documents.

The village is investigating the best way to secure the parks, Duffy said.

Taxes abated

Minooka will be abating in excess of $11 million of property taxes levied for 2013.

The amount was levied to pay debt services in the event alternative revenue sources weren’t sufficient. All those sources should be adequate to make the bond payments, Village Finance Director John Harrington said.

The bonds, issued in 2008, 2011 and 2012, were for various road, storm water retention, sanitary sewer and downtown improvement projects.

The money will be repaid from water and sewer usage fees, utility taxes, Motor Fuel Tax allocations and the street and bridge levy.

“We levy for it, but the bonds are paid by alternative revenue sources instead of real estate tax dollars,” Duffy said.

Nonprofits get approval to solicit on busy roadway

While two nonprofits received approval to solicit donations on village streets for their fundraising campaigns in a 5-1 vote, Trustee Terry Houchens voted against it as he does each year because of safety concerns.

Misericordia Heart of Mercy received approval to solicit donations from vehicles on April 25 and the Will-Grundy County Building & Construction Trades and Kankakee & Iroquois County Building Trades received approval for June 14 for the Dad’s Day fundraiser.

Both groups request soliciting donations from vehicles at the intersection of Ridge Road and Mondamin/Minooka Road.

Houchens said the village should have a policy prohibiting soliciting at this intersection because it’s an extremely unsafe situation.

“I have been against it for a long time,” Houchens said. “I don’t think we should solicit in the busiest intersection [in the village], I think it’s unsafe. But I am in the minority.”

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