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Westminster widening put on hold due to water main

Contributing Writer
Posted on 3/13/2019, 2:23 AM

MARION -- Plans to widen Westminster Drive have come to a screeching halt with city officials and engineers reporting that the project would cover up an aging water main that would be better off being replaced before a new road is built.

"We had a project this year to spend more than $600,000 widening Westminster and then we found out we have a water main underneath, and that's going to be around an additional $250,000 to move and replace," Mayor Anthony Rinella told the Marion City Council on Monday night.

Due to have taken place this summer, the 6-foot widening of Westminster would have been paid for out of tax-increment financing revenues, but the city can't afford to pay for the road project and the water main.

Glenn Clarida of Clarida and Ziegler Engineering sought approval to go ahead with the water main, noting that the 8-inch Transite main was installed in the 1970s.

Clarida said the Water Department wants to put in a modern 12-inch PVC main, which would tie in with 12-inch mains west of I-57.

The council, with Rinella and commissioners Angelo Hightower and John Goss, gave unanimous approval to suspend the road-widening scheme and for Clarida to move ahead with plans for the water-main project. Commissioners Doug Patton and Jim Webb were absent.

In other property and development matters, the council voted 3-0 to accept the low bids for demolitions of properties on West Concord Street, $4,900 for 811 W. Concord and $2,900 for 1304 W. Concord, both from Marion-based Neat Cut.

And unanimous approval was given to adding territory to the Williamson County Enterprise Zone in the city -- a portion of the Cornerstone Church parking lot, which has been subdivided. City Administrator Gail West said the owner of Fujiyama Steakhouse will build a new restaurant on the spot and relocate from the Illinois Star Centre. The enterprise zone allows for abatement of property taxes for a number of years, as well as abatement of state sales taxes on building materials used in the project.

And under old business, the council unanimously accepted the new Marriott Subdivision, which is platted on the west side of Halfway Road, opposite the Pilot Truck Stop. City Engineer Clarida said the subdivision allows for two parcels, one for a new Marriott hotel, and the other, the site of the to-be-demolished Limited Inn, used to leverage financing.