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CITY BEAT: Yikes! Another 1 1/2 Years Before North Water And Main Streets Receive Needed Improvements?



Paul Osborne

     Driving on North Water or North Main streets between Eldorado and Pershing Road is not enjoyable.
The condition of the two main arteries that run from the downtown area and beyond is deplorable.
Now, motorists will have to wait until the middle of 2025, at the earliest, for needed improvements to be made and that is not good news.
     As reported last week, the Illinois Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting tomorrow (Nov. 2) on the proposed project to improve Business U.S. 51 (Water and Main Streets) from U.S. 36 (Eldorado Street) to Illinois 48/121 (Pershing Road).
     The purpose of the meeting is for the public to learn more about the project by reviewing the proposed improvements and providing feedback on the proposals. Attendees will be able to learn more about the project through the exhibits, displays and fact sheets that will be available at the meeting. IDOT staff and consultants will be available to discuss the project and answer questions. There will be no formal presentation. All interested parties are encouraged to attend the Nov. 2 meeting which will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the Main Street Church of the Living God, 2000 N. Main St. in Decatur.
     “Improvements being studied are options for renovation of the road and the associated drainage system, the addition of a shared-use path along the east side of Water Street, ADA improvements to sidewalk ramps, traffic signal modification and lighting updates. IDOT is working closely with the city of Decatur on this project.”
     Construction is anticipated to start in spring 2025.
     WHAT!!!!! North Water and North Main between Eldorado and Pershing are already in horrible shape. Do you mean we’re going to have to wait another year-and-a-half before construction will even start to improve those rough rider streets?
     I don’t know about you, but my car takes a real beating when I drive on either of those streets and I can only imagine what the surface of those streets will be like after going through two winters before any work is done on them in the spring of 2025 —or later.
Frankly, I would patronize some of the north Decatur businesses a lot more if I didn’t have to drive on those rough roads to get to and from the Pershing Road area from downtown.
     One of these days my infamous possessed car “Christine” will refuse to leave the parking lot if I’m going to head north on Water Street!

     • CLOSE ONE! I was heading east on Wood Street and pulled up to the stoplight at Wood and South Franklin Street as it was turning red.
     After stopping, another car in the other lane behind me ran through the red light and, a few seconds after that, another car ran through the red light at a high rate of speed as cars on Franklin Street were starting to move north!
     A split second later and the second car to run the red light would have hit the driver’s side of a Franklin Street advancing car!
     Unfortunately, one of these days, some of these close calls are going to result in tragic traffic accidents.

     • LAST Saturday was the last day for the Farmer’s Market in Central Park and I have to admit that when I walked the one block north of our building to buy some tomatoes, there was a really cold wind blowing making it seem more like December than October.

     • CONCERN — Among the “Letters to the Editor” on page 2 and 3 of the print and online editions, concerns are being expressed about the potential relocation of the Heritage Behavioral Health facility from downtown to the former Northgate Shopping Center — and St. Teresa’s High School’s opposition to it.
     Amy Jedlicka, President of the St. Teresa High School Board of Directors wrote: “Over the past five years, there have been over 100 calls for service at their current downtown location, involving unlawful use of a weapon, disorderly conduct, assault, battery, and public indecency, just to name a few. Relocating near St. Teresa would put our students in the path of these incidents, which is unacceptable.”
The Decatur City Council is not involved in the approval of the move unless there is a rezoning issue which would require approval by the council.
     I don’t think anyone is against the work of Heritage Behavioral Health Facility, and its impact on our community, but St. Teresa leaders and families are raising some legitimate concerns over the facility being relocated so close to the high school.
Even if the city council has no role in the possible move, it appears, at the very least, many supporters of St. Teresa want a firm response from the city council on the “advisability” of moving the center next to St. T.

     • THERE IS so much more to read in this week’s edition of the Decatur Tribune.  Subscribe to the print or online edition elsewhere on this website.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider.
something I’ve done for over 20 years.


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