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Elburn moving through obstacles toward Anderson Road extension completion

ELBURN – Elburn’s acquisition of property through eminent domain needed to extend Anderson Road south of Keslinger Road, and that project is now close to becoming a reality, after nearly a year of legal procedures to determine ownership of two of the parcels and negotiations involved with the purchase.

The two parcels, originally owned by the Blackberry Creek Development Association, were transferred to a Chicago Title Land Trust once the development association was no longer in existence. Since the Land Trust had no beneficiary behind it, the village realized that negotiations for the property could become problematic, and the Village Board in April 2019 authorized the village attorney to utilize eminent domain to take over the property, if necessary.

Last week in court, a judge validated that the appraisals obtained for the two parcels were in fact, just compensation, in the amount of $800 for one parcel and $52,000 for the second parcel. Village Administrator John Nevenhoven deposited checks for the two amounts with the treasurer’s office. When village attorney Bill Thomas goes to court on Thursday, he will obtain a judicial document equivalent to a deed, making the village of Elburn the owner of the two parcels, and eliminating one more obstacle in the way for the construction of the Anderson road extension.

Confronting another obstacle, the Village Board on March 2 approved payment to Engineering Enterprises, Inc. in the amount of $64,000 for a change order connected to phase one of the Anderson Road extension project. The amount was a 10.3% reduction in the original invoice totaling $74,749.75. The vote to approve payment was 4:1, with trustees Ken Anderson, Sue Filek, Bill Grabarek an Chris Mondi voting yes and trustee Matt Wilson voting no.

A combination of changing requirements presented by the Illinois Department of Transportation to EEI regarding the project and inadequate communication to the village regarding the costs associated with each additional IDOT requirement and change in scope resulted in the village board being caught off-guard when presented with the original bill at the Feb. 3 Village Board meeting. The board at that meeting declined to make a motion to approve the payment.

EEI engineers came back to the village’s Feb. 18 Committee of the Whole meeting with a more detailed explanation of each line item in the change order, and participated in a lengthy discussion of each item and its cost. The Village Board then requested that EEI come back to the village with a reduction in its invoice to the village.

EEI’s Julie Morrison said that the additional changes from IDOT began when during the meeting to kick off phase II work, IDOT surprised them by coming back with additional items from phase I, work which had been done 10 years ago. Morrison said that each time EEI responded to a request from IDOT, the agency would respond with another round of reviews and additional changes and charges. She said there was a need to keep the project moving, in order not to lose the funding to pay for it.

EEI’s Colleen Jaltuch added that initially EEI thought that it could absorb the additional costs and/or the attorney would be able to handle the issues.

Village Administrator John Nevenhoven said that village staff had been made aware at every step when there was an additional hurdle, but did not recall receiving communication regarding the additional costs associated with the changes.

There was consensus from the board that the project should move forward, as the completion of the Anderson Road extension is in everyone’s best interests.

Village President Jeff Walter approved a second change order based on an additional requirement from IDOT that a noise analysis be completed, with the restriction that the cost not exceed $5,000, in order to keep the project moving forward.

Walter had said earlier in the project that the village and its supporting safety services, including the Elburn Police Department and the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, were looking forward to the accomplishment of this extension, as it could shave minutes off of their arrival at the Blackberry Creek Elementary School in an emergency.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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