Buffalo Grove village trustees are one meeting away from approving the first stage of the Weiland/Lake-Cook Road improvement project, which could include a controversial realignment displacing residents from as many as seven homes.
Village Finance Director Scott Anderson outlined for trustees this week three project options, along with their likely financial impact. It didn't take an accountant to see which one would be the most economically attractive to village trustees.
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But Nora Bethman, who could lose her Prairie View home as a result of the realignment, urged trustees Monday to consider an alternate path for a proposed connector route included in the plan, such as open land right across from her on Celia Avenue.
The homes would be lost to make way for the connector linking Weiland and Prairie roads, north of Aptakisic Road. It's part of an overall $100 million plan that also includes widening Weiland from two to four lanes between Lake-Cook and Aptakisic roads, and widening Lake-Cook from Hastings Lane to Raupp Boulevard from four lanes to six lanes.
Anderson said what has been called the preferred option for the Weiland portion -- which calls for rebuilding the road, installing curbs and gutters, and building the realignment -- would be funded primarily by the federal government and Lake County.
The cost to the village would be only $500,000, in addition to the $1 million already spent on engineering.
The other two options, he said, are likely to be costlier.
Option 2, which calls for the rebuilding of Weiland Road with curbs and gutters but no road widening, would cost approximately $26.5 million.
The village would be responsible for all costs, which would require Buffalo Grove to issue general obligation bonds. The cost of that to the owner of a $300,000 property would be $121.30 a year for the next 18 years, the life of the bonds.
Option 3 -- basically Option 1 spread out over time -- would involve rebuilding Weiland Road while holding in reserve the possibility of the Prairie Road realignment down the line.
That would cost the village approximately $44 million and would also require debt financing. That would cost the owner of a $300,000 property $234.40 a year over the next 18 years.
Anderson said that regardless of which option is chosen, Weiland Road must be rebuilt.
Village President Jeffrey Braiman noted that having the village fund the work through bond issues would roughly triple its current debt.
"If we were to bond $26.5 million for roadway improvements, we could repave almost half of our village streets with that dollar amount," Village Manager Dane Bragg added.
Residents who quizzed officials about the project asked whether they had sought out options that wouldn't require eminent domain proceedings to remove homeowners. Bethman noted that there is open space across from her home that could be used for a connector.
"When there is open space that isn't owned by anyone -- I believe it might be owned by the village -- directly across the street from five homes that you want to confiscate through eminent domain, wouldn't it be cheaper just to use the other side of the street where there aren't any homes?" she asked.
Bragg replied that the village explored that option, but the open space serves as a detention area that, if used for a roadway, would have to be replaced.
"So even if the alignment of the roadway was shifted, we would still have to come up with detention area on the other side of the road to compensate for the existing flow that goes into that detention area," he said.