By Jim Nowlan
WYOMING – Wyoming area local government leaders led by Mayor Pat Maher met Tuesday with Illinois Department of Transportation officials at the Paramount Theater to discuss a proposal by IDOT to close the bridge between Wyoming and Toulon for six months.
The proposed bridge total replacement project is projected to begin about May 1, 2021 and the bridge would be totally closed to traffic until about Oct. 1.
Illinois Route 17 runs across the state of Illinois east to west. It was constructed in the 1920s.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss concerns about school bus routing, emergency, fire and ambulance services as well as alternate traffic routes around the closure.
For example, the Stark County engineer had concerns about public safety from sharply increased traffic on Grain Bin Road, a blacktop road from Wyoming to Toulon. In addition, there would be increased road maintenance costs for the county and townships.
In response to a question about keeping one lane open during rebuilding, an IDOT official said such would lengthen the duration of the project and increase its costs.
The meeting was strictly for sharing of information, according to Denny Rewerts, Wyoming economic development officer.
“IDOT promised to get back with us after our concerns are reviewed by engineers and planners at the agency,” Rewerts said.
At its regular meeting Monday, Maher and the City Council voted unanimously to change the start time of its monthly meetings from 6:30 to the new time of 6 p.m.
The cities of Wyoming and Toulon meet on the same day of each month, and Evans is attorney for both communities. Toulon is expected to move its meetings to 6:30 from 6 p.m. as at present.
Toulon starts with reports that don’t typically require the presence of the attorney, so Evans thinks he can thus be present for some or all of both government meetings.
At its meeting, Wyoming council members asked for volunteers to assist with maintenance, upkeep and financial support of Duryea Ball Park, located east of the Stark County Jr. Fair and 4-H grounds.
“The City mows and does lots of other work at the ball park,” noted City Clerk Judy St. John, “and the City feels it only fair that those who use it often help with the upkeep of the facility.”
Persons interested in volunteering may call City Hall at (309) 695-4831 and names of volunteers will be turned over to Phil Daum, who has offered to lead the volunteer efforts.
The council also turned over to city attorney Evans a list of five abandoned properties for apparent life-safety violations, which could lead to condemnation of the properties. A handful of additional properties will also be notified of nuisance property violations, which residents should clean up.
Superintendent Joe Kinsella reported 40 trees in the city with ash borer disease must be taken down this summer. Three such trees in Duryea Park are in bad condition, according to Kinsella.
City Clerk St. John told The News that the mayor, alderman dan Hardman, water and sewer superintendent Greg McCauley and the city’s engineering firm are working on a grant proposal to the Illinois EPA to upgrade the 1984-vintage sewer plant with the latest technology.
During the preceding month, Police Chief Mark James reported that his department logged a total of 31 calls, 3 arrests, 3 assists and 13 traffic stops.