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City ready to start interstate property project

October 2, 2018

ROCK FALLS – The city wants to make its interstate properties look as enticing as possible to developers, but getting the land shovel-ready requires a significant investment.

The city bought 30 acres of farmland, with an option to buy 25 acres more, from local farmer Wayne Schmitt in September 2015. The land is just west of state Route 40 near Interstate 88.

The city paid $995,000 for the Schmitt property and gave the family 45 acres of farmland it owned in the McNeil Road industrial park. When the land was purchased, the city knew it eventually would have to pay for an infrastructure buildout – and that day is here.

The City Council will vote today on the low bid of $1,959,497.50 for water and sewer extensions to the Schmitt property.

Gensini Excavating of Princeton submitted the bid, one of three the city received. The others were from Davenport, Iowa-based McCarthy Improvement Company for $2,149.775.35, and $2,789,513.62 from Fischer Excavating in Freeport.

The low bid was recommended by the city’s utilities committee and Stanley Consultants, which did the engineering work for the project. The Gensini bid was the only one that came in below the engineer’s estimate of $2,019,613 for the work.

In addition to cost, the other major consideration in accepting a bid was how quickly the companies could finish the work. Although Gensini has the low bid, its completion window is 330 days. McCarthy gives itself 270 days and Fischer 285 days to finish the project.

With no developer signed on to start work at the site, cost was most important in the Gensini recommendation.

“We’d like to get the infrastructure in as soon as possible, but we figured we would be looking at about a year anyway,” said Alderman Glen Kuhlemier, who also serves as finance committee chairman.

Gensini recently completed another big project in Rock Falls, which also could work in its favor.

“There is familiarity with them because they worked on the RB&W Park project,” Kuhlemier said. “They were the only ones that came in under budget and we were happy with the work they did at the park.”

The council approved the issuance of general obligation bonds for the Schmitt project at its June 19 meeting. A bond for water and another for sewer work, each not to exceed $1.2 million, were OK’d for the buildout.

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