Now that the Lockport City Council has unanimously approved the plans for a 23-thousand square foot haunted house at the south end of Canal Road, the real work begins. Village Administrator Ben Benson says that once Legacy Events is done getting the basic structure of the building in place, the road work around the area will begin.
In order to get that done, a 125-thousand dollar "economic incentive grant" from the City of Lockport is going to go to the road improvements; along with about four streetlights and pole reflectors being put in along the way. Legacy will be handling some guardrail and temporary lighting themselves. Benson says the city will be paid back for the grant at "one dollar per admission ticket" until the full amount is reached.
Benson says attendance projections of maybe 10 to 15 thousand for the first year, 25 thousand for the second, and perhaps 50 for the third are not just for the fall. Because although as soon as November 1st they'll start to plan THE NEXT YEAR'S haunted attraction, there will also be chances to use this property for various other seasonal celebrations. About 22 to 25 'active haunt days' are scheduled for this coming fall.
5-22 10:30 AM
The Will County board extended the temporary overweight truck permit of Manhattan-Arsenal Road but not before hearing from the trucking industry urging them to find a long term solution. The owner of a trucking facility in Bolingbrook says their customers will move their business elsewhere.
Randy Thomas with the Illinois trucking association says more fees are fine if they're used in the proper way.
Walter Strawn has been closed for months through Elwood, forcing trucks to use Arsenal Road. The temporary permit allowing overweight trucks to use Arsenal Road has been extended by 60 days.
The mayor of one of the largest cities in Will County is disappointed that the Will County Board kicked the can down the road on an eye sore along the I-55 corridor.
Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar appealed to the Will County Board to not grant a special use permit for an outdoor storage
facility for a parcel of land along West Frontage Road because he says it's just a junk pile that the owner refuses to clean up. Which he says is impacting future development
The mayor says that virtually every piece of land in Bolingbrook, with this 3 acre parcel being the exception, is under contract or will soon be under construction. Along I-55, there is 32 million square feet of industrial manufacturing or office building space. The Will County board didn't accept or deny the ordinance but tabled the issue for 60 days. Mayor Claar wasn't pleased with that decision, stating that outdoor storage in front of a business part makes no sense, and hurts the overall tax base.
Mike Martin, lawyer for the property owner, Henry James, says the trailers are filed with auto parts, and that the company is willing to take steps to reach a compromise.
The matter was tabled for 60 days, and for now "the junk pile" remains.
It was earlier this month, on May 2nd, that 17 of the 28 Special Olympics athletes in the Troy School District participated in the "Area Seven Regionals" in South Holland. The Troy 30-C squad was named team of the year at this event. Troy Special Olympics athletic director and coach Kim Rothstein says the efforts to get the program going in the Troy District began eight years ago, starting with eight to ten athletes in basketball and track and field.
Troy Elementry Instructional Leader and Special Olympics volunter Andrea Laverso (la-VERSE-o) says it was a great opportunity for two special education teachers like herself and Rothstein.
One of the participants, in the 100 meter dash and softball throw, was Troy Craughwell 4th grader Seren Jenkins; who issued a challenge to her brother while speaking on the air with 1340 WJOL's Scott Slocum.
Some of the Troy Special Olympics athletes will now move on to the state games, down in Bloomington-Normal in mid-June.
5-21 10 AM
Earlier this week, County Executive Larry Walsh signed legislation passed by the Will County Board that stated there would be no additional expansion of video gaming in unincorporated Will County. But Walsh signed it with a bit of regret. He says it's not right for counties to have to say either a full "yes" or full "no" when it comes to having video gaming in the first place or expanding it. Walsh says what he'd like to see is the ability for counties to be flexible; where they could allow it in certain situations and not allow it in others. Because after all, Will County is a collar county, and not a downstate rural county. Walsh says a couple of bills were considered in Springfield on this, but did not have much luck.
So without that flexibility, Will County had two choices: keep allowing expanded video gaming, or don't allow any more of it at all. And the County Board chose the latter. Walsh says the problem is: while you might not want video gaming right next to a new housing development, it would be nice if someone wanting to building a new golf course in unincorporated Will County could have the option of putting some video gaming machines in. Since they now cannot, you might have some prospective businesses going elsewhere; since this can exude a "non-business friendly atmosphere."
Keep in mind, this action had nothing to do with the municipalities within Will County, just the unincorporated areas.
5-21 9 AM
If you have youngsters looking to attend a baseball camp this summer, former big league player Mike Sweeney will be having one from Monday July 20th to Wednesday July 22nd at Providence Catholic High School. Sweeney hit 215 home runs and had 909 RBI's during his 13 year career, along with batting .297. Former Providence player and current Cubs Chaplain Father Burke Masters says he got to know Sweeney last year.
As Mike Cemeno pointed out to 1340 WJOL, Sweeney is also scheduled to speak at the Champions Catholic Faith Night on Sunday July 19th, the night before the baseball camp begins.
The Mike Sweeney 2015 Catholic Baseball Camp at Providence is for boys 8 to 16, at a cost of 300 dollars each. Each day will include Mass, Rosary, and Confession; in addition to Baseball. Call 815-791-6519; or go to ABCSPORTSCAMPS.com/CATHOLICBASEBALLCAMPIL.
5-22 9 AM
Earlier this week on 1340 WJOL we spoke with Republican State Senator Sue Rezin. She spoke of GOP Governor Bruce Rauner's usage of "groups of legislators" to try and get part of his agenda going, prior to the finalizing of a new state budget. She said these "working groups" are looking at reforms he would like to see, and have each been asked to produce one piece of legislation.
Some of the reaction to the governor's "working groups" has been quite negative. An example might be Phil Kadner's column in the Southtown Star this past weekend, where he condemned it as typcial Illinois behind closed doors secrecy. But Democrat State Rep Natalie Manley says the governor is speaking to people on both sides of the aisle in these groups. She says, sure, there was some holloring on the House floor about the governor's groups when they were first created, but that may have been more for dramatic effect. Manley says that overall, Rauner has realized how hard the governor's job will be, and is trying to do the right thing by seeking input from various legislators.
Manley says the tone of some of the columns out there about Rauner's working groups, such as Kadner's, is really painting the the wrong picture, that it's sinister; rather than the real picture, where people are being brought in to share ideas and search for compromises.
5-20 11:40 AM
The plan to re-do the Joliet draw bridges is on paper, but there's a long way and at the very least three years of work to go. During yesterday's public meeting at Joliet City Hall, Bridge Management Specialist Pete Sambor of the United States Coast Guard said that although Joliet's six draw bridges are seen by many as rare, the miles of federal waterways within the 22 states the he deals with, out of the Eighth Coast Guard District in St Louis, actually has about 150 drawbridges. And many of them, such as a couple in Arkansas, already have this modern control system that they'd like to put in Joliet.
There were diagrams there Tuesday of all six Joliet drawbridges, and detour routes that would be used while this work is being done. But it's important to note that they'd be changed over one at a time, with the Coast Guard giving final approval, after a certain time period, as to whether the updates are safely and permanently done. And as we've mentioned, there will be just one bridge tender site, which would be in the Illinois Department of Transportation maintenance building, on Bridge Street near the Jackson Street Bridge. Three different bridge tenders would work shifts, providing 24-7 coverage of this remote system. However, it would be the state paying for renovation. And that, these days, with the shape Illinois is in, can be very tricky. Sara Wilson of IDOT says, this whole thing has been studied for quite a while.
Wilson said it will be tricky for a long range project like this: because IDOT's list of projects and money for them works on a five year cycle, which is still updated every year. So it's a matter of getting the intial commitment to this, and keeping it.
12-16 10 PM
Scott Slocum had a chance to take a ride over Centerpoint South in Elwood yesterday. You've heard that it's the largest inland port in North America, see for yourself. Go to Scott Slocum's Facebook page to view the video.