BY KIM LUTTRELL
OAKWOOD — Village trustees received an update Monday night on the village's attempt to gain possession of the former truck stop located on the north side of the Oakwood interchange with I-74.
Mayor Robert Jennings said a firm, CW3M Company of Springfield, has been contacted and is interested in taking care of the the underground tanks and contaminated soil at the site.
Jennings told the board that CW3M is a leading environmental consulting and engineering firm that has vast experience in this type of work.
However, Jennings said that the firm cannot begin any type of work on the site until the Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency inspect the site and determine that there is contamination on the premises. Once that has been completed and the village takes legal possession, the company can move in and begin the clean up process.
Village attorney P. Stephen Miller told the board that he has been in contact with the company that has been handling the foreclosure of the former truck stop property and is waiting for the firm to clear the property through the foreclosure process. Miller said once that occurs a negotiation process could begin, which Miller felt would be brief, since the company is anxious to get rid of the property.
Miller said he has also had discussions with county officials about forgiving the outstanding claims for unpaid real estate taxes.
Miller said once the village obtains possession of the property, the IEPA would use funds from its Leaking Underground Storage Tanks fund to cover the cost of the clean up.
Jennings said that once the site is cleaned up, he feels the property could be quickly sold to one of several interested developers.
While no source of funds have been identified for purchasing and improving the property by the village, Jennings said he is not in favor of one such option.
"There is the possibility of the village creating a third TIF district to cover our costs, however I am not in favor of this because of the legal cost to set up the district and that the full benefits of any kind of economic development up there would not be fully available to our neighboring taxing bodies for the next 23 years," Jennings explained.
The 23 years he refers to is the length of time a TIF district is allowed to exist under Illinois law.
In other board action, trustees:
+ Heard from resident Mike Carpenter concerning flooding caused to his home from a water main break on Friday morning at the corner of Scott and Park Streets. The water main break caused water to flow down his driveway into his garage and ultimately flowing down into his basement. Carpenter said he ended up with 3 inches of muddy water in his garage and basement. Carpenter was seeking to recover his clean up costs and property damage through the village's insurance company. Jennings told Carpenter and the board that he had contacted the village's insurance company and that an adjuster had been assigned the case.
+ Approved the 2014 motor fuel tax budget as was presented by village engineer Lisa Lashuay. The village plans to spend $70,000 on street maintenance and repairs in 2014.
+ Trustees agreed to have Jennings begin gathering information on the possibility of implementing a zoning ordinance in the village.