Marseilles commissioner makes case for Illinois Street repairs

Street in dire need of costly sewer repair, resurfacing; commissioner recommends $700,000 loan

A bench was dedicated to Marseilles first female mayor Patti Smith in front of City Hall.

As a postal worker who daily walks through the streets and alleys of Marseilles, Mike Scheib is familiar with each pathway and is upset about the condition of several streets, but one in particular.

Scheib, who also is the commissioner of streets and alleys, called to his fellow council members’ attention the poor condition of Illinois Street, which runs adjacent to the current City Hall east of the downtown area, and the need for its remediation.

He’s asking for the city to make a financial commitment to repairing not just the street’s surface but also what’s underneath, and asked the city consider a temporary increase in water rates to help pay for applications for a low-interest Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan to cover the cost of those repairs, which could be as costly as $700,000.

“It is, I believe, a legitimate threat to public health and safety, so repairs need to happen yesterday,” Scheib said.

According to Scheib, the street has been in disrepair since the flood of 2013 and was not only overlooked when repairs to other streets were implemented, but also was damaged further by the heavy machinery passing through to fix those other streets, he said.

“Illinois Street from Liberty Street to the school looks fine and the Safe Schools Grant the city received will make those sidewalks even better,” Scheib said, “but it’s from Liberty Street west that’s the problem … It’s a bad situation. A lot of the damage is from 2013, but the flooding issue goes back to at least 2007, 2008.”

Still, the commissioner knows that before any street repairs can be done, the sewers they cover must be addressed first.

“The one thing we don’t often think about is what’s underneath, and that’s not just Illinois Street. It’s Timbers Ridge, as well,” Scheib said. “We can’t do the surface repair until we get the sewers knocked out. Right now, the sewers are in such bad condition that we can’t have the heavy equipment on it to repave it.”

“I’m asking for an investment from the city, and it’s a real one, but I feel the burden should be born universally.”

The city also took care of two public hearings, one ending an already completed sewer project and the other annexing 60 acres of property into the city limits.

Shug Grosenbach of the North Central Illinois Council of Governments addressed the council regarding the lining of the sewers on Union and Bluff streets. The cost of that project, she said, came to $625,733, of which the city received Block Grant funds of $508,724 for construction and $30,000 in administrative costs.

“It’s totally done, the bills are paid, but we had to have a public hearing to close it out,” Mayor Jim Hollenbeck said.

The second hearing involved an annexation agreement with Ralph and April Coyle, who will have their 60-acre property taken into the city limits, thanks to that and the adoption of both a resolution and an ordinance making the inclusion of the property along River Road permanent.

Hollenbeck said a portion of the land will be zoned industrial in case a business wanted to come in near the river, while another part will be zoned agricultural so the owners can build their new residence there.

In other action, the council:

Approved the bid of $293,743 from Universal Asphalt and Excavating in La Salle for the city’s 2024 Street Maintenance Program.

Heard thanks from commissioners Melissa Small and Jim Buckingham for the efforts of city staff and local volunteers during the annual Freedom Run, which drew about 800 motorcycles and countless other visitors to the Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall on Saturday.

Have a Question about this article?