Marengo looks to development, infrastructure along Route 23, Interstate 90

Marengo-Union Chamber of Commerce breakfast speakers talk business

Marengo Mayor John Koziol speaks at the Marengo-Union Chamber of Commerce's annual breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2023.

Bringing new business and housing to Marengo depends on how the city develops land at the new interchange at Route 23 and Interstate 90, Marengo Mayor John Koziol said.

He was one of five local officials who spoke Thursday morning at the annual Marengo-Union Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Koziol was joined by McHenry County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim McConoughey, Marengo Park District Board President Marty Mohr, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and state Sen. Dave Syverson.

While officials from Union were invited, none were able to attend, said Tim Sebastian, president of the chamber board.

Marengo is working now to determine how best to connect village water and sewer to parcels near the new interchange, which opened to traffic in late 2019, Koziol said.

As McConoughey put it, “the mayor wants to dig once. He doesn’t want to put a road in and then in two years, dig it up again” to put in additional underground infrastructure.

McConoughey spoke on what his organization is doing to help bring new development to the Route 23 corridor, including working with ComEd to bring power to the area.

McHenry County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim McConoughey speaks at the Marengo-Union Chamber of Commerce's annual breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2023.

That means high voltage power lines like the ones seen near Huntley and Interstate 90, McConoughey said. ComEd would need to extend those lines to Marengo to make power available for future development.

Unless the power-heavy needs for some businesses are met, “they will not move in there,” McConoughey said.

There are some “tire kickers” who have reached to ask what the potential is for new manufacturing facilities on that corridor, McConoughey said. Those questions came from both a solar panel development company and a battery maker.

Those businesses will make the kind of equipment needed going into the future.

It is frustrating, Koziol said, that housing developers want to see businesses in the area before committing to a new subdivision, while businesses want to see the rooftops of new homes and potential customers and employees first.

In the meantime, he and the City Council are looking at how to bring water and sewer lines to the intersection for future development.

Bringing more industry and other commercial business to Marengo reduces residents’ tax burden. More industry and sales taxes help to “take care of and fund the community instead of just real estate taxes,” Koziol said.

More residents have moved to the county and and more houses were built in 2022, McConoughey said. Those who are leaving are often retirees, and families with young children are moving in. 2,500 new houses were built in McHenry County last year.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct the headline. It included the included the incorrect route. It should have been Route 23.