Antioch hopes Grimm Road relocation spurs development
The stage is set to close a lengthy portion of Grimm Road, a shortcut between Route 83 and Route 173 in Antioch, as village officials pursue a $10 million to $12 million plan to rebuild and relocate it.
Village officials Monday are expected to authorize the closure to take effect sometime in February, citing advanced deterioration of the road surface as well as safety concerns at its intersection with Route 173.
The closing affects the village-owned portion from just west of the Canadian National tracks to just west of Sequoit Creek, but not the part that angles to Route 173, which is owned by Antioch Township.
Rebuilding and relocating the old farm road to hit Route 173 about a quarter mile west of its current oblique intersection is regarded as a key to the development of 62 vacant village-owned acres with commercial and industrial uses.
Widening the road to three lanes with curb, gutter, sidewalks and paths, extending utilities and installing traffic signals at either end would cost an estimated $10 million to $12 million, village Administrator Jim Keim said Thursday during an information session at the village hall.
"It's not going to look anything like it is today," he said.
About a dozen people attended with questions regarding the timing and length of the closure and type of barricades, but none spoke against the idea.
"The end game is we want to expand the tax base," Keim said. "Once we have a real road there, these parcels look much more attractive," to developers, he added. About 7,000 to 8,000 vehicles per day would use the new road, he added.
The project could take two or three years, but is considered an investment to attract business and improve safety. Between Jan. 1, 2016 and Nov. 30, 2018, Antioch police reported 44 accidents at Route 173/Grimm Road, mainly rear-end collisions for evening traffic heading west.
The village inherited the portion of Grimm it's closing when it bought the adjacent property. In October 2017, the village assumed responsibility for Grimm from the township when the property was annexed.
The township more than a decade ago was considering an extensive reconstruction of Grimm but shelved the idea after the village showed preliminary plans to annex the property and reroute the road, according to Eric Ring, Antioch Township highway commissioner.
A proposed commercial development to have been anchored by a Meijer store did not materialize and the road continued to decline. Keim said it would cost about $1 million to pulverize and repave the existing road, but that would be a waste of money in the big picture.
The road replacement "won't start until we have a secure funding mechanism to do it," Mayor Larry Hanson said.
The area is designated as a tax increment financing district, which allows taxes paid on increased land value to be used for a variety of improvements, including roads. The village also is planning to create a business district and apply some funds toward the Grimm Road project.