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Bourbonnais gets a look at future pedestrian bridge

October 3, 2018

BOURBONNAIS — For years, village officials have talked about adding a pedestrian walking bridge over U.S. Route 45/52 near Olivet Nazarene University.

While that project might be years away, Bourbonnais now has an idea of what such bridge could look like. A recently revealed conceptual design depicts an ADA-compliant, glass-covered bridge with a peak at the center and lighting.

“We are trying to make something that is going to be a very beautiful architectural adventure,” Mayor Paul Schore said. “We are trying to enhance our French-Canadian heritage and play off of that as we are with our wayfinding signs.”

A pedestrian bridge has been on the village’s radar for several years. The ultimate goal is to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion.

“It will be a traffic-enhance,” said Schore, who previously said there have been 27 minor accidents near the intersection. “Obviously, people won’t be crossing the street there with the bridge. It will be much safer for people who are crossing.”

However, financial concerns have hampered the village. Schore estimated it would cost between $4 million and $5 million to build the bridge.

In January, the village and Olivet agreed to split a $165,000 contract with BLDD Architects Inc. to create designs for the bridge in an effort to pursue grant funding.

That effort took another step forward on Monday when village trustees unanimously agreed to request a permit from the Illinois Department of Transportation to allow soil borings in the area.

Schore said the village is hoping to obtain federal grants to fund the project. When those grants become available, ultimately will determine when the bridge project begins.

“The timeline is open-ended right now,” Schore said.

St. George Road

Village trustees passed a couple resolutions that aim to clear up police jurisdiction along St. George Road.

The first resolution would disallow parking an additional 900 feet east of U.S. 45/52. The second would establish an altered speed zone along the roadway.

That would enable the village to post more speed limit signage and allow the Bourbonnais Police Department to better enforce traffic laws there.

“It’s very unclear right now as far as what the speed limit is because you go from village to county, to village to county, to village to county there,” Schore said. “It’s kind of a mish-mash. We are doing what we can to make sure we can do more radar there, but you need the signage to write tickets.”

Tourism

Trustees unanimously agreed to extended the village’s contract with the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau by six more months to promote tourism.

The KCCVB serves Kankakee County, the City of Kankakee, Bradley, Bourbonnais, Manteno and Momence. It is funded through the county’s 5 percent hotel/motel tax.

Bradley Village Trustee Mike Watson recently created a stir when he questioned whether Bradley should remain with the bureau since the village generates about 60 percent of the county’s hotel/motel tax base.

“We certainly should look at all options,” Watson told the Daily Journal. “I’m not sure we are getting the lion’s share of the advertisement and promotion.

“Could Bradley do better on its own? You can’t be afraid to have the discussion. I’m pro-Bradley. Period.”

Bradley’s village board voted 4-3 to extend its contract with the bureau last week.

As for Bourbonnais, Schore and the rest of the village board showed ample support for the bureau with a unanimous vote.

“The day of sticking our heads in the ground and worrying about our own municipality should be over with,” Schore said. “Our county cannot afford to do that. We have to work together, and we’ve done that in so many cases. To separate that back out would be foolish. That’s just my opinion.”

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