An artist’s depiction of the proposed retail shopping mall
at 20009 E. Grant’s Highway (Route 20). Photo Courtesy of City of Marengo

NEW STRIP MALL PLANNED FOR EAST SIDE

The City Council approved a redevelopment agreement with considerations for tax-increment financing assistance that will create a new retail center at 200009 E. Grant Highway, during its Sept. 25 session. The agreement with site owners S & V Property LLC also provides for TIF monies up to $550,000 on the estimated $1.7 million cost of the proposed project.

The agreement is an update from the Sept. 11 negotiation, where the developer, the Marengo-based Corey Brackmann Construction Co., will obtain a loan from the Prairie Community Bank and assume the liability. The city will pledge a portion of the available TIF funds for the project, and commonly referred to as a “pay as you go” arrangement with an approximate 8.37 per cent return on the investment. The TIF district was established for the siting area in 2011.

“This was originally discussed in early Mar., and was in the development process,” said Marengo’s acting city manager Josh Blakemore. “They still have to present their plans to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for approval, possibly at a Nov. meeting. We’re not limiting commercial development to one area, we want to bring development to the west side of town, where the Ace Hardware and Wisted’s Foods used to be.

The plan calls for the Marengo Pharmacy to re-locate to the new mall, from its downtown place of business at 308 State Street, along with a Dunkin’ Donuts and a liquor store. A fourth unit may be also be put into the mix.

The TIF funding will be used by Brackmann Constr. Co. to complete needed sewer and water line infrastructure at the site, as well as building a left turn lane on Grant’s Highway, which would necessitate approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation, as it is a state thoroughfare.

DOWNTOWN BURGLARY SUSPECTS CAUGHT

The Marengo Police Department announced that two individuals had been apprehended Sept. 20 in the downtown burglaries where cash, computers, and jewelry were taken. A window to one business was broken to gain entry during the Sept. 19-20 incidents. The businesses, located between 100-200 S. State Street were the Flatlander Market, Donna’s Jewelry Box, Three Stars Salon, Wholesome Petz, and the Empower Your Life Source Center, and a one-room residence.

“Arrests were made fairly quickly with witness identification, and the use of surveillance footage,” said Marengo Police Chief Rich Solarz. “Another factor was that some of the items and proceeds from the burglaries turned up in the community.”

Police came upon the broken window to the one store Sept. 19, and were alerted Sept. 20.

The suspects were identified as Nichole R. DePew, 38, and Robert Charping, 56, and both lived in the 1200 block of North State Street. Charping was charged with five counts of burglary, four counts of theft, and five counts of damage to property. DePew was charged with one count of burglary, one count of possession of stolen property, and one count of criminal trespass.

HILL SENTENCED IN KUMM HEROIN DEATH

Durelle J. Hall, 26, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Mc Henry County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Prather in the heroin-induced death of Marengo resident, Chelsie Kumm. The Sept. 8 action followed Hall’s July guilty verdict rendered by a jury for supplying the illegal opioids to Hall through a purchase.

Hall was due to appear in court Sept. 14 to face additional felony counts of drug-dealing and drug possession. Prosecutors outlined that Kumm had attempted to reach Hall several times, with messages on her cell phone, before making the purchase. Forensic pathologists indicated that the heroin was laced with fentanyl.

She was found dead by her boyfriend’s mother in a basement room with an array containing baggies of heroin with heroin residue, drug paraphernalia, syringe needles, prescription pills, and cooking tools for the illegal drug left around the room.

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