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All systems go for utilities work at interstate property

October 3, 2018

ROCK FALLS – The city has hired a contractor for a nearly $2 million infrastructure project at one of its prime development properties along the interstate.

Officials aim to jump-start interest in the Schmitt property, 30 acres of farmland just west of state Route 40 near Interstate 88 that it bought 3 years ago. The city has an option to buy 25 acres more.

The City Council on Tuesday approved the low bid of $1,959,497.50 to build water and sewer extensions to the 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. Gensini’s bid was the only one that came in below the engineer’s estimate of $2,019,613.

The city was familiar with Gensini, which had done much of the work at RB&W Park. The contractor is contractually obligated to complete the utilities work within 330 days. City officials have been told that construction work will begin between mid-January and mid-February. Work on some property easements could cause some disruption next spring at the Days Inn by Wyndham on state Route 40.

Sanitary sewer project

The council also awarded a contract for another expensive infrastructure project, but that one is subject to the city receiving approval for an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan to pay for it.

The council approved the low bid of $819,260 from Chesterfield, Missouri-based Insituform Technologies USA to upgrade an aging sanitary sewer system. The project area is along Leroy Avenue and West First Street between 11th and Second avenues, and on Eighth Avenue between Leroy and West Fifth Street.

The area is near the site where a sewer partially collapsed 3 years ago along West First Street near First Avenue. A water main was hit while workers were digging to get to the sewer line, causing water to fill a 20-foot-deep sinkhole.

Part of the problem was addressed at the time by doing slip lining of the sanitary sewer main.

“When we fixed the sinkhole, we just did enough to fix the immediate problem because we knew we were going to go after an EPA loan for the bigger project,” City Administrator Robbin Blackert said.

Stanley has submitted the IEPA grant application, but the city isn’t sure when a decision will be made.

No bids on city property

The city was prepared to open bids Tuesday for property it acquired through the judicial deeding process, but none were submitted.

The house on a corner lot at 1200 W. 15th St. was considered abandoned after no one had lived there in 3 years and taxes and utilities had gone unpaid. The owner had died and the property hadn’t been left to anyone in a will. One family member was located, but they didn’t want it.

The city received a judicial deed in May and this is the second time it has solicited bids.

“This one’s in decent shape and can be rehabbed,” City Building Inspector Mark Searing said. “If we don’t find a buyer soon, we might be forced to demolish it.”

The buyer would have 1 year to bring the structure up to code or the city has the right to take it back.

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