CLINTON — City officials have long been working to redevelop the city streets and federal highways that cut through the Liberty Square area.

On Wednesday, Clinton’s City Plan Commission took a step a local company says will help as it prepares for those changes and works to make its operations more efficient.

The commission at its regular meeting recommended approval of a request from Archer Daniels Midland in which the city will vacate the 2400 block of Liberty Avenue, which ADM wants so it can construct a new feed loading station on the vacated street. In making the request, ADM Plant Manager Jim Woll said ADM currently owns everything along the block with the exception of a large storage unit located along 24th Place.

The stretch of street ultimately also will help as ADM changes truck traffic flow patterns, he said.

“We feel it is consistent with the long-term plans for the area,” Woll said, adding the vacation of the road is part of Phase I of a discussed land transfer agreement between the city of Clinton and ADM in regard to the U.S. 30/67 Liberty Square Redevelopment Project.

“ADM was approached about five years ago by the city and Howard R. Green and asked if we could reverse the flow of trucks through the existing corn receiving area,” he said.

The reverse in traffic would be a better fit with the highway’s new six-lane divided configuration in years to come, Woll said. He said in a letter to Clinton Mayor LaMetta Wynn that the old Liberty Avenue roadway would be used as a truck staging area with the balance of the land to become green space.

Plan Commission member Sue Tugana asked if ADM had taken into consideration the fact that the plan for the road’s development has changed since ADM was first asked about reversing flow five years ago.

Woll said his company is aware of the changes and that Howard R. Green, the engineering design consultant for the Liberty Square project, prepared the conceptual drawings shown Wednesday to the City Plan Commission.

Some concerns were raised by property owners in the area, not about the proposed street vacation, but about the future of other properties in the neighborhood. They specifically want to know what will happen and when.

City Planning Director John Staszewski said while the project is in its first phase, with work on that phase to be completed in about two years, it is unknown what the timeline will be for purchasing properties along Liberty Avenue.

He said residents can expect all properties located east of the new ADM corn silos, located behind the NAPA Auto Parts store, will be bought and that the DOT will be knocking on property owners’ doors.

The DOT will buy the property, which will be given to the city. The city will reimburse the DOT.

He said the tough part is knowing when state and federal funding will come through for the redevelopment, because that affects how plans are carried out.

Staszewski said he has been “harping” on DOT officials to have a meeting set up with property owners, and will be meeting with DOT leaders today. He hopes information from that meeting can lead to answers for area residents.

The measure to vacate was approved 6 to 1, with Jim McGraw voting no and two members — Steve Howes and Monte Ackermann — abstaining. The City Council must give final approval on the measure.

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