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Hosey: Joliet City Council makes Christmas dreams come true

You don’t always get what you want, not even on Christmas.

Perhaps you’re hoping to look out your window Christmas morning to see a brand new car with a giant bow tied atop the roof, just like in the commercials. Who wouldn’t want a new car for Christmas? That’s tough to beat.

What you may not have wanted, on the other hand, was a sprawling, obscenely immense intermodal terminal right down the road, or anywhere near where you live, but it looks like that’s just what Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and the city council gave you. It probably won’t even have a bow on the roof. Merry Christmas.

To be fair, it wasn’t the entire city council. It was six out of the eight of them with only Bettye Gavin and Cesar Guerrero voting the way most everyone who didn’t stand to make some money off the project wanted them to.

And it’s not just a gigantic intermodal facility, one brought to you by NorthPoint of Kansas City, Missouri, that the mayor and three-fourths of the city council cleared the way to put under your tree this year, but all the truck traffic that will come with it. Odds are none of the trucks will have bows either.

When they voted NorthPoint’s way, some on the council made a big deal about the developer’s plan for a “closed loop” system that will keep trucks off local roads, which it might actually do. But even if it does, it still begs the question of of what happens when the trucks get to Interstate 80, to say nothing of the I-80 bridge over the Des Plaines River, which Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers found so dilapidated and dangerous that it went to the trouble of buying billboards warning motorists that the bridge was in “critical condition” and if you dared to cross it, you did so “at your own risk.”

That was nearly three years ago and the bridge is still standing, but who can say how much longer it will last? And the increased truck traffic will surely send it plunging into the river sooner than later.

You may be skeptical of NorthPoint and its closed loop, but City Councilman Joe Clement said he personally laid eyes on it and liked what he saw.

“Just last Wednesday I visited the closed loop and I did not see the traffic,” Clement said just before he voted for NorthPoint.

“Everything was clean,” he said. “Their garbage was, there was no garbage. What I learned is they can take three trucks and take two and put it into one. They hand pack them. I was very impressed with what I saw there.”

O’Dekirk pointed out to Clement that he had not visited NorthPoint’s planned closed loop, which does not exist, but in reality had taken to a trip to Edgeton, Kansas, to take a look at NorthPoint’s Logistics Park Kansas City.

It sounds like a fabulous place, this Logistics Park Kansas City, at least from what Clement had to say about it. Free of garbage and traffic for as far as the eye can see, it may as well be a Christmas wonderland.

• Joe Hosey is the editor of The Herald-News. You can reach him at 815-280-4094, at jhosey@shawmedia.com or on Twitter @JoeHosey.

Joseph Hosey

Joseph Hosey

Joe Hosey became editor of The Herald-News in 2018. As a reporter, he covered the disappearance of Stacy Peterson and criminal investigation of her husband, former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson. He was the 2015 Illinois Journalist of the Year and 2014 National Press Club John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award winner.