Freeport, Illinois – The City will hold a public hearing on the advisability of creating a multi-use pedestrian and bicycle path along Empire Street between Park Blvd and Read Park as part of the City Council’s Committee of the Whole Agenda next Monday evening, April 11, 2016.
The hearing is advisory and designed to provide a forum for public input on the City’s Water main project currently under construction in two sections of the City. The water main along Empire Street is scheduled to be replaced and enlarged this summer. The main will be installed in the parkway of the North side of Empire.
Since the present sidewalk will be removed for the project and new curb and gutter installed, the City and Park District have discussed the possible installation of a multi-use path as part of the project to connect Krape Park and Read Park in lieu of a customary sidewalk.
Area residents along Empire have been sent letters on the hearing to advise them of the possibility and to solicit their input on and comment on the project at Monday’s hearing. And, while public comment is not binding on the choice of pedestrian options, the City gives considerable weight to neighborhood sentiment.
The public hearing on the multi-use path will be near the beginning of the Committee of the Whole agenda of the City Council on Monday, April 11, 2016. Meetings are held at 524 W. Stephenson Street on the Third Floor at 6:00 p.m.
Anyone can register an appearance and make comments on the issue at the beginning of the COW meeting on this issue. The public hearing will also afford residents an opportunity to ask questions about the water-main project, itself.
Mayor Jim Gitz noted that public input, particularly from homeowners along Empire will play a major role in quickly resolving which alternative (path or sidewalk) will be installed on the north side of Empire Street. “I personally think this a great amenity to add to the area,” said the mayor. “If we are ever to have a good intra-city multi-use path system, it makes sense to start with connecting the parks within the City.
“It would also be a great amenity for children as well as adults. However, I realize that there are many questions to be answered before we proceed. That is why public opinion is sought in the first place.”
Council member Sally Brashaw, who represents the Empire area stated that she looks forward to hearing from area residents and that constituent opinion is of great concern to her.
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Posted by Today In The Port on Tuesday, March 29, 2016