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Village Vision News

County Highway 20 project comes under review

Thursday, April 26, 2012

At the April 16 Village Board meeting, trustees pondered what if any steps to take concerning a proposed County Highway 20 improvements project.

The birth of the project extends back to 2008, when more than six inches of rainfall in a five-hour period caused significant flooding in residents’ homes in the Phillips Circle area. In the search for a solution, Village and Macon County officials agreed to seek state and federal funding to help finance an $8 million joint project to reconstruct Highway 20 and improve drainage in the area. Both parties agreed to split costs equally between the two entities, and jointly the two have spent $360,000 on engineering costs to date, with Forsyth spending the larger share of $200,000.

However, the project has been in the news in recent weeks, as County board members unanimously agreed in an April 12 amendment that the highway would not be constructed without their board’s approval until the Illinois Department of Transportation declared the road “functionally obsolete.” That board’s action followed the expressed concerns of two farmers in the area, Brad McCool and Don Westerman, who in March had publicly questioned the necessity of sacrificing more than 20 joint acres of their farm ground to build three retention basins for the project.

At their April 16 meeting, Forsyth trustees discussed what to do next.

“We really should stop doing any engineering work until we are sure we can afford the project,” said Trustee Bob Rasho. “We have invested $200,000 and we have no clue when we are going to build it.”

Trustee Larry Reed agreed, saying, “Let’s step back and both sides take a look at it.”

No action was taken that night.

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