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Utica takes over maintenance of I & M Canal towpath section

Village crews now responsible for upkeep

Utica trustees learned Thursday of a five-year agreement with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that allows the city to take over maintenance of the Illinois and Michigan Canal and its towpath, which runs through the village.

"I'm happy with this arrangement with IDNR that puts our section — nearly two miles of the canal and towpath — under Utica's control," said Utica Mayor David Stewart.

Stewart explained the village's plan, which includes keeping the historic canal and towpath "looking nice and in great shape," is to keep working towards a future rewatering of the stagnant canal.

Village crews will now be responsible for mowing, trimming trees, filling potholes and other maintenance work along the stretch, Stewart said.

Giving the board an update on a tax Increment financing extension, Utica attorney Herb Klein said all taxing bodies within Utica TIF 1 District have agreed to the 12-year extension. The board approved intergovernmental agreements with La Salle County, La Salle-Peru High School, Utica Public Library and Utica Township.

Klein explained the TIF 1 extension process must be approved by state lawmakers and signed by the governor to go into effect. He said local legislators plan to incorporate the TIF arrangement into an upcoming bill next week.

He said the new Waltham School project (now under construction) was the "driving force" behind the extension.

The current TIF 1 agreements expire at the end of the year. Klein told the board he was not aware of any denial of a TIF extension by the state with local agreements from taxing bodies in place.

In other business, the board approved:

• A payment of $11,706 to Chamlin & Associates to cover engineering costs for the Johns and Hitt streets project.

• The purchase of a truck bed for a village pickup that is not to exceed $2,810.

• The bid by Northern Contracting of $4,835.44 to repair a damaged guardrail off Route 178 and Hallet Road.

• The purchase of liability insurance from the Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association for $78,818.91, which is payable in two installments.

Before adjournment, Stewart praised Utica firefighters as well as other local department members for their quick response to extinguish a two-story house fire Wednesday night. He said the departments actions saved adjacent structures from the fire.

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