Cohn's Springfield Ave. folly

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11188555156497.jpg’, ‘photo by Jeff Havens’, ”);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11188556756883.jpg’, ‘photo by Jeff Havens’, ‘Workers from Stenstrom Companies arrive June 7 to repair the Springfield Avenue extension. The same section of road was repaired in July 2003 and October 2001.’);

The Springfield-Harrison Avenue extension sank about 2 inches last week, just south of the Cunningham Road intersection. Local news outlets reported the road damage was caused by heat-related “buckling.” The section of road has sunk three times since October 2001, and was constructed on top of an artesian spring.

In 2000, local citizens protested Winnebago County Board Chairman Kris Cohn’s plan to construct the road over a Native American settlement on the banks of Kent Creek.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recommendation of a bridge over the wetlands was ignored, and the valley was filled with a massive amount of gravel. Protesters argued the wetlands were federally protected. County officials countered wetlands are not protected. According to reports during construction, no steel reinforcement rods were used in the road.

The project also drew controversy concerning land acquisition. Then State Rep. Doug Scott (D-67) sponsored a controversial legislative tactic called “Quick Take,” which allowed county officials to seize the property of Tom and Jan Ditzler before compensating them.

The Chicago Tribune published a front page article o the day after county officials began cutting trees for surveying, claiming the objections by the protesters were about racial issues.

From the June 15-21, 2005, issue

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