Longmeadow Parkway opponents: 'Why are you not listening to us?'

  • Dozens of people, including many Longmeadow Parkway opponents, fill the Algonquin village board room Thursday night during a special town-hall meeting to discuss the project.

    Dozens of people, including many Longmeadow Parkway opponents, fill the Algonquin village board room Thursday night during a special town-hall meeting to discuss the project. Lauren Rohr | Staff Photographer

  • The proposed Longmeadow Parkway project would cut westward across this farm property on Route 31 in Carpentersville.

    The proposed Longmeadow Parkway project would cut westward across this farm property on Route 31 in Carpentersville. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/15/2016 9:15 AM

Algonquin resident Jack Bavaro is among the many Longmeadow Parkway opponents who are not giving up hope of stopping the project.

Nearly 70 percent of people who voted in an advisory referendum in March were against the road extension and toll bridge. The "Stop Longmeadow" group has garnered support in an online petition.

 

And during a contentious town hall meeting Thursday, the Algonquin village board room was overflowing with people, several of whom voiced their discontent for the $135 million project.

"At what point in time do the village trustees start listening to the will of the people when they vote 'no' and continue to vote 'no'?" Bavaro asked. His question was met with applause.

Community members addressed Village President John Schmitt, as well as Kane County Department of Transportation Director Carl Schoedel and Deputy Director Tom Rickert during a heated discussion about the project, which would create a 5.6-mile road extending through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills.

"Years of village opinion surveys have shown three areas of concern by our residents: a lack of good jobs, high taxes from a variety of taxing bodies and the lack of regional transportation," Schmitt said. "Longmeadow Parkway will address all three of these important issues."

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Several residents, including Roz Strapko, whose home backs up to the road, said they're worried about how increased traffic would impact nearby homeowners and schools.

Though Schmitt said several measures, such as putting up trees and berms, were taken to mitigate noise and safety issues, Strapko said the project isn't the best solution.

"The Algonquin people have spoken," she said. "Why are you not listening to us?"

At least $35 million in government funding has been poured into Longmeadow Parkway so far, Rickert said.

"This has been a significant public investment over the last 20 years," he said. "There are potential consequences if you walk away from a project."

But no matter how much money would be lost, Gary Swick, Friends of the Fox River president, said officials should consider backing out of the project.

"I think officials need to think about representing voices. ... Let's reconsider some things instead of crossing the line in the sand, digging our heels in it and saying this is a done deal," he said. "I can look around this room, and I am confident that it is not a done deal."

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