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Council approves engineering plans for Westminster widening

By Curtis Winston
Contributing Writer
Posted on 1/16/2019, 1:19 PM

MARION -- Plans to widen Westminster Drive from Carbon Street west to Fosse Road were approved in a unanimous vote by the Marion City Council Monday night.

As presented by Glenn Clarida of Marion-based Clarida and Ziegler Engineering, the $770,000 project would be completed next summer, and would widen the 20-foot-wide road by 6 more feet and add curbs, storm sewers and other infrastructure.

The improvements would tie in with the work being done to extend Halfway Road south to Westminster. From there, the Illinois Department of Transportation plans to widen Westminster to Fosse Road, and replace the Westminster Drive bridge over Interstate 57.

The state's part of the work, including the bridge deck replacement, will take place sometime in 2021, Clarida said.

And along with Westminster, IDOT plans to also replace the Grassy Road bridge over I-57, which will shut down that stretch of the interstate and detour traffic along Illinois 148 and Route 13. Clarida said IDOT would aim to have the bridge decks done in around three days.

Mayor Anthony Rinella said he wanted to make sure that the widened Westminster Drive would not become a shortcut for commercial truck traffic.

Clarida said weight limit signs could be posted and after a few tickets are written to enforce those limits, truck drivers would get the message.

The council, with Rinella and commissioners Angelo Hightower, Doug Patton, Jim Webb and John Goss, voted 5-0 to approve the plans.

In other business:

• "We had the heat go out in the Training Center," said Rinella. The council voted 5-0 to accept the low bid of $11,156 from Marion-based Ponder Service for a new furnace and air-conditioning system at the East Boulevard Street facility. Other bidders were Fowler Heating and Cooling at $13,549 and D & C Heating and Cooling, which offered two bids for $14,873 and $13,095.

• A 4-1 vote, with Goss as a "no", approved HUB Recreation Center Lead Fitness Attendant Sherry McConnell as a full-time employee at 40 hours per week from 33 hours a week. The HUB General Manager Chris Georgantas said the move would increase McConnell's leadership responsibilities, and her salary by $1,440, but save The HUB $2,880 due to the elimination of a 20-hour-a-week fitness attendant position.

• Atlas CPAs and Advisors will continue to serve as the city's auditors for the next three fiscal years. Treasurer Steve Hale said Atlas would charge the city $45,000 for a general audit and $47,000 for a "single" audit, which is necessary if more than $750,000 in federal funds are expended. The firm was also hired to perform audits of tax-increment financing districts, at a fee of $1,000. The votes were unanimous.

• An ordinance upgrading the standards of parking-lot surfacing was approved in a 5-0 vote.