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posted: 3/18/2014 5:30 AM

Mayor Darch reflects on Barrington's growth, changes in 2013

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  • Barrington Village President Karen Darch delivers her State of the Village address Monday evening. Darch said the village grew and improved during 2013.

      Barrington Village President Karen Darch delivers her State of the Village address Monday evening. Darch said the village grew and improved during 2013.
    Doug T. Graham | Staff Photographer


Barrington Village President Karen Darch delivered her annual State of the Village address Monday night at the meeting of the Barrington board of trustees and said that in 2013, one year away from its 150th year as a village, Barrington grew and improved.

"The numbers tell us we are sound financially, and our permits tell us we are growing," Darch said.

Darch said that despite tough economic times, the village gained 12 businesses in 2013. Along with business growth, Darch said there are developers interested in building new residential areas in the village.

Darch said the village has effectively faced several challenges that have come the village's way in 2013, including an increase in freight train traffic, the major change in fire protection for the Barrington area and the perils of Mother Nature.

"We are determined to bring our best efforts to meet them and continue to accentuate the very many wonderful attributes of our corner of the world," Darch said.

To address increased freight train traffic, the village continued to work on the Route 14 underpass plan, which first received funding in October 2010. Darch announced that the village added another $9.56 million in grants during 2013 to the project which, if completed, would alter Route 14 so it runs underneath the CN Railway.

"(The plan) will enhance the safety, emergency access, and traffic flow for our village and region when ultimately completed," Darch said.

In addition, Darch said the village continued to stress the importance of rail safety, especially when it came to the transport of hazardous freight materials along rails in Barrington.

Regarding the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District's decision to stop contracting their services through the Barrington Fire Department and begin to fund its own operation, Darch said the village did the right thing in 2013 by deciding not to fight the district's decision.

She said planning for the changes, which took effect this year, was difficult, but having weathered the change things are much better for the village.

"We have excellent response times to our smaller 5-square-mile village coverage area now," Darch said. "And we have created a more sustainable financial model for our fire department -- particularly in terms of long-term pension liability -- than we have had for the past 20 years."

Darch said 2013 was rough for the village in terms of weather, but the village's ongoing work to improve its stormwater management infrastructure has made a significant impact despite the pounding of rain and snow.

"Since 2007 our efforts have resulted in a 27 percent decrease in average annual flow through our wastewater treatment plant," Darch said.

Darch concluded her remarks by looking to the future.

"As we prepare to celebrate 150 years as an incorporated village, we continue to become an even better place to live, work and play," Darch said.

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