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updated: 12/17/2013 5:52 AM

Mundelein residents complain about Hawley Street plan

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  • Mundelein officials may forcibly purchase land along Hawley Street for a road-widening project.

       Mundelein officials may forcibly purchase land along Hawley Street for a road-widening project.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 

A handful of Mundelein residents voiced concerns during a public hearing Monday about plans to widen Hawley Street near their homes.

An 8-foot-wide bike path that would run along Hawley between Midlothian Road and Seymour Avenue was the most common target for the critics.

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"If you're going to put it in, no one's going to use it," Terry Coleman said. "They'll still use the street."

Resident Brian Deardorff called the path "an annoyance."

"I would like to live close to a bike path, but I don't want it in my front yard," Deardorff said.

Deardorff also complained the land needed to build the path will eliminate space for parking on his driveway.

In addition to the bike bath, a center turn lane for automobiles and new storm and sanitary sewers are planned for Hawley. The road will be resurfaced, too.

The project is expected to take two years and cost $8 million. Lake County maintains that stretch of Hawley and will pay for some of the work.

County officials insisted on the bike path, trustees said.

Monday's public hearing was held because officials plan to use their power of eminent domain to forcibly acquire some of the land from unwilling or uncommunicative property owners.

To make the improvements, officials need to acquire land in front of 40 Hawley Street properties, including homes. On average, about 4 feet of land is needed on each parcel.

No houses will be demolished.

Village officials have been negotiating purchase deals with some land owners. Others haven't responded to purchase offers from the village or rejected the offers.

Some of the properties are in foreclosure, and the banks that own the land haven't been cooperative, officials have said.

After the nearly hourlong public hearing, trustees voted to ask the state General Assembly to authorize the village to use eminent domain.

Coleman and Deardorff found a sympathetic ear Monday night in Trustee Ed Sullivan, who said bicyclists don't use paths.

"That bike path is going to be ignored by at least nine out of 10 people on bicycles," Sullivan said.

Still, Sullivan voted to move ahead with the project. So did all the other board members.

Trustee Terri Voss said the design isn't her top choice but said it's better than not improving Hawley, which has been a rough ride for years.

"The community has spoken volumes about the need to do something about Hawley," Voss said.

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