The sharp curve along Route 20 at Reinking Road in Elgin may be no more if the city and a Geneva-based developer have their way -- but funding for the project is a big question mark.
The Elgin City Council gave a unanimous thumbs-up Wednesday to the concept of rebuilding Route 20 to create a gentler curve south of the existing, almost 90-degree turn.
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The plan, estimated to cost up to $4.5 million, is being proposed by Shodeen Group of Geneva, the builder of the Pingree Creek subdivision at the site.
"We think it will create a substantially better traffic pattern and also provide some interesting economic development opportunities out there," Elgin Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley said.
The approval was only conceptual; the city would still have to approve amending Pingree Creek's annexation agreement, originally approved in 2004.
The 780-acre subdivision was to include 2,700 homes and 12 acres for commercial development. No homes have been built yet, but this is a good time to set things in motion, Shodeen Group President David Patzelt said.
"It's really about market conditions," he said. "We were waiting for, and have been waiting for, the market to improve."
The realignment of Route 20 would provide three times more acreage for commercial development, he said.
The plan also would require approval by the village of Pingree Grove, which includes a small strip of land just south of Route 20, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Village President Greg Marston said the board will discuss Shodeen's plan at its July 21 meeting.
"The village's position is that what's important is that we look to be collaborative, and partner with both Shodeen and the city of Elgin," he said.
Funding for the project will have to be determined, Patzelt said.
"We first have to get all the communities and IDOT to agree that this is the way it should be built," he said. "If everybody agrees, the next step is to work on funding sources."
Shodeen is willing to kick in some money, but not the whole amount, Patzelt said.
Marston said Pingree Grove wouldn't have any money to contribute to the project.
In Elgin, that's to be determined, Mayor David Kaptain said.
"We would have to sit down and look at what the plans would be," he said.
IDOT officials did not respond to a request for comment. Elgin officials said the agency is waiting for agreement from Elgin and Pingree Grove before incorporating the realignment into its long-range planning.
An IDOT strategic plan from 2002 includes the building of a Route 20 bypass that would avoid the Pingree Creek subdivision.
However, in a later meeting with Shodeen, IDOT acknowledged that -- in the absence of funds for the bypass -- the realignment would be a good solution, city officials said.
Shodeen's conceptual plans also include a new Metra station nearby, but that's not part of the commuter rail agency's current plans, Patzelt said.