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TALKING POINTS: Uncovering and recreating history

Jim French
Jim French
Why not take the project to rewater the Illinois and Michigan Canal in Ottawa a step or two further?
The idea has drawn mixed reviews, but the uncovering of an old lock at Canal and Superior streets, the restoration of a toll collector’s office and the addition of a canal boat replica near Columbus Street have added to the potential for the whole project.
Rewatering the old lateral canal along Canal Street alongside the new canal bike path might be a stretch, but who knows what might happen someday.
Perhaps Ottawa could eventually claim to be the “Venice of the Midwest.”
There may be more potential for a major tourist attraction that also will be enjoyed by local citizens than some might think.
Costly? No doubt. Stay tuned.
Pothole alert worsens
The pothole epidemic on streets and roads in Starved Rock Country seem to be getting a lot worse in recent weeks. Don’t even mention some of Ottawa’s municipal parking lots where you could lose a mid-size sedan.
And how about Route 23 between Ottawa and Streator over the last couple months? Goodness gracious that highway’s condition has defined “washboard." Has anyone considered establishing a commuter rail service along the Route 23 corridor to reduce some of the traffic on that highway?
You can’t blame state, city, township or county road maintenance crews for not keeping up with the pothole situation. Infrastructure maintenance costs money and as we all know Illinois and local governments are a little short of cash.
Maybe Mother Nature is lobbying for a gas tax increase.
Tax time
Well, almost.
Mid-April looms for state and federal income tax returns to be filed and that will be followed in a little more than a month with your property tax bill.
Of course everyday is tax time day with sales taxes on pretty much everything you buy, not to mention gas and any other assorted taxes.
And in sports
Times have certainly changed. 
You might have noticed the large numbers of empty seats again this year at state high school basketball tournaments, not only in Illinois but elsewhere.
A packed Huff gym and Assembly Hall are certainly fond memories for lots of high school fans. Filling arenas with just about every living soul from communities in the tournaments and other state-wide prep fans is apparently a thing of the past.
JIM FRENCH, of Ottawa, is retired after 43 years in radio broadcasting, including 33 in Ottawa. You can reach him through The Times by emailing newsroom@mywebtimes.com.


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