The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

January 30, 2013

Liberty Square: Finished by July 1

CLINTON — Area transportation advocates and city employees Tuesday met with Iowa and Illinois Department of Transportation staff to discuss the projects affecting the Gateway area.

The semi-annual meetings between locals and District 6 DOT employees give the people working at the local level an update on the DOT’s direction with major transportation projects while simultaneously giving the state workers insight into the projects that are most important to local advocates.

The important projects discussed on Tuesday included the U.S. 30/67 Liberty Avenue project, which District 6 Engineer Jim Schnoebelen said would be complete by July 1. The contractors continue to do work through the winter to complete it.

“In terms of quantities, they're about 50 percent done, but I think it's the easy 50 percent,” Schnoebelen said.

The city intends to demolish two of the buildings that still stand in the area between Camanche and Liberty avenues — those buildings being a former laundromat and a vacant car wash building. The city agreed to put the demolition out for bid with the properties scheduled to be gone by mid-April.

Local advocates asked what the protocol would be for the city purchasing land from the DOT once the project was complete.

“Typically what we would do is finish the project just to make sure we have the right of way set where we need to and then we would begin that process,” Schnoebelen said.

The appraisal through disposal process can take up to a year, but could be accelerated in this case.

State law requires the property must first be offered to the owner from which it came. Then unless the city intends to put the land to public purpose, such as a park or other public space, it would be subject to public bid auction.  

The property also will have to be re-platted before it can be sold.

Iowa U.S. 30 Coalition Chairwoman Edith Pfeffer suggested putting an “urban jungle” in some of the space in order to increase the city's green initiatives.

“I think that’s what we really should do on the ADM side,” Pfeffer said.

The group also discussed the location design and environmental impact study for U.S. 30 from Fulton to Rock Falls.

“We don't want to let this project be cold in the grave. We really don't,” Illinois U.S. 30 Coalition Chairwoman Barb Suehl-Janis said. “We want to keep this in front of our legislators.”

The conundrum Suehl-Janis and other advocates face is whether to continue to seek funding if they don't know the future of the project or how much funding is needed to ensure the project is completed.  

Masood Ahmad, the acting studies and plan engineer for the Illinois DOT, said he believed they could continue on their mission for funding.  The discussion ended with the 19th Avenue North extension project.

Fulton City Administrator Randy Balk asked what the anticipated traffic increase will be across the Iowa 136 bridge once the extension is complete. He was told the residential and truck traffic was not expected to substantially increase because most would still choose to use U.S. 30.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • AGENDA: 4-22-14 Clinton City Council

    The Clinton City Council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. followed by a committee of the whole.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    U.S. Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes is seen as the swing vote on the three-judge panel that heard the Oklahoma appeal and a similar case from Utah last week.

    April 18, 2014

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

    April 18, 2014

  • Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

    The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant.

    The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is only right about half the time — a reality that has prompted a small vanguard of police chiefs, courts and lawmakers to toughen laws governing the handling of eyewitnesses and their accounts of crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Blagojevich campaign account donates final dollars

    A federal campaign account for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now empty, two years into the Chicago Democrat's prison term.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports Friends of Rod Blagojevich donated $709.85 to a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery earlier this month.

    April 18, 2014

  • GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library

    A Republican lawmaker is protesting after an Illinois House committee recorded a 9-0 vote to commit $100 million for President Barack Obama's library and museum, even though the committee's four GOP members weren't there.

    Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says he didn't expect a vote during Thursday's hearing. He told WBEZ radio and the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he would've voted no.

    Sullivan says "the legacy of the Obama presidential library shouldn't be kicked off in a cloud of controversy."

    April 18, 2014

  • Prosecutor says 6 felon voting cases will proceed

    A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is," despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election even though they lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Iowa's unemployment rate climbs to 4.5 percent

    Iowa's unemployment rate climbed to 4.5 percent in March as more people entered the labor force.

    Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday the rate was up from 4.4 percent in February. It compared to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in March 2013.

    April 18, 2014

AP Video