Utica to re-water its portion of the I&M Canal?

Village engineer working on proposal for Springfield

The Illinois and Michigan Canal turns 175 this year and Utica hopes to join the celebration by re-watering its portion of the canal.

Village Engineer Kevin Heitz advised the Utica Village Board he hopes to have a “preliminary plan” headed to Springfield within two weeks. If the Illinois Department of Natural Resources approves the plan, the village can seek bids and restore its portion of the canal during the 12-month observance (April 2023 to April 2024) of the canal.

Mayor David Stewart said he was optimistic they’d get they OK.

“We’ve expressed our interest to DNR and they want to help us,” Stewart said.

Separately, the village formally lifted its moratorium on vacation rentals, which no longer is needed now the village has spruced up its ordinance and can begin fielding requests for new bed and breakfasts, for example.

As previously reported, the board undertook a painstaking review – they had to purge rules governing boardinghouses and lodging houses – to update insurance requirements and expanding the village’s authority to expand the hotel-motel tax (the pillow tax).

In other matters, the village board:

  • Moved the next meeting from Thursday, Feb. 9 to Wednesday, Feb. 8
  • Donated $500 each to Waltham PTCC and Utica Fire Department for the former’s trivia night (Feb. 4) and the latter’s annual smoker (March 3)
  • Agreed to purchase a new 2023 Dodge Ram police truck not to exceed $60,000