Marengo News Briefs



An ambitious sidewalk and parking lot improvement plan that will encompass most of the downtown area, including the historic district, was approved by the city council, during its Oct. 10 session. The city of Marengo will apply the remaining balance in its Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) amounting to $321,620.93, to pay for the projects. The RLF was closed out last Jan., in accordance with state law.

The Mc Henry-based City Engineering firm of HR Green supplied estimate totals to the council for the upgrade plans that are pegged at $328,839. The separate components are: Route 23 sidewalk ($137,734), Side Street sidewalk ($133,807), Taylor Street sidewalk ($26,452), Parking Lot A-Old Library Parking Lot ($24,779), and Parking Lot B-off Washington Street ($6,067). The parking lot behind Marengo City Hall was estimated at $99,123 and not considered as part of the improvement package.

In a letter to council members, City Administrator Josh Blakemore noted that good construction bids could bring the overall effort in line with the remaining balance taken from the RLF close-out. Should project overruns arise, the additional monies could be used from contingency or capital improvement funds.

The improvements are tentatively slated to begin this spring.


Marengo City Administrator Josh Blakemore received an update from the Illinois Tollway Authority on the progress involving the remaining phases, as well as a projected timetable for completion. City council members were apprised last month, and “Everything is full-steam ahead, and really cooking,”  he said.

“They’ve basically acted on the intergovernmental agreement to outline how the construction costs will be broken down,” Blakemore said. “They approved it….and the right-of-way acquisitions that surround the access are being handled by them, so, we’ve distanced ourselves from that aspect. The ITA is very quick, and moving ahead with this project. It’s expected to be completed by Aug. 2019.”

The outlined schedule indicated that project job order bids would be opened in late Nov., and contracts awarded by late Dec., with the close of the calendar year. A “Notice To Proceed” is anticipated in Feb. 2019, with “contract mobilization” expected in Apr., with access construction. The Route 23 Bridge widening and overpass were completed earlier this year. Commercial and industrial properties are planned to surround the access, and benefit the city of Marengo with additional revenues. In past years, the municipality has steadily annexed properties along Route 23 into its jurisdiction.

When finished, it will be the sole access point along the Route 90 Jane Addams Tollway in McHenry County. The project has been on the county’s “Wish List” for more than two decades.


The solar farm project, encompassing the area around the intersection of Route 20 and Johnson Road, cleared another hurdle as two separate motions were executed by the Marengo city council, during its Oct. 22 meeting. Marengo Solar Farms LLC, listed as the beneficial owner, had entered into annexation agreements with the city to become enfolded within their boundaries. A Letter of Credit, a contingency item to the agreement due Sept. 7, was not submitted.

The company returned to the city council with an offer to place funds in an escrow account as collateral from the cash value of the agreement on two parcels that make up that commercial venture’s site, until letters of credit are secured. They further offered to deposit the amounts Oct. 23, should the motions be approved. The city council members voted 6-1 on two motions, one for each parcel, with one alderman absent.

An option to purchase the parcel from Nelligan Investments LLC in the amount of $60,400 and an option to purchase a parcel from Richard Johnson and Judith L. Feddma that carried an amount of $57,362 were accepted as equal to the cash values as escrow collateral, in lieu of the letters of credit, until such time as they are presented to the city