Crossing sought for facility

Crossing sought for facility

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

Plans for a 70-acre Sportscore-like facility in Rockton are contingent on obtaining permission to create a railroad crossing for automobile access to the park.

On Monday, April 30, the Rockton Village Board approved Trustee Scott Fridly seeking permission from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to create the railroad crossing.

Village President Dale Adams said the facility may include a baseball diamond, soccer fields, a practice football field and a concession stand.

Although he received village board approval, Fridly still isn’t sure when he will present the request to the ICC, which has the ultimate authority. He indicated he isn’t sure when a decision will be made, but it could take up to six months.

The land, which is bordered by Old River Road, the railroad tracks, Illinois Highway 2 and the Rock River, was recently given to the village by an anonymous donor.

Access is very limited because the Rock River runs along the north of the property and IL-2 runs to the east and south. The proposed, railroad crossing off Old River Road would give southwest access to the proposed facility.

For obvious reasons, access from the Rock River isn’t an option. Highway 2 is an “access-controlled” highway. Access is limited because of the river to the north and IL-2 to the east and the south. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) denied a request for potential emergency access to the property from IL-2. Permission for permanent access is doubtful because of the denial.

The only other access to the property is over the railroad tracks along Old River Road. Fridly noted the board chose the 1,400-sq. ft. area south of Ferry Street because of the almost parallel alignment of both the railroad tracks and Old River Road and the clear line of sight up and down the tracks. The village estimates the average daily traffic would be up to 250 vehicles.

Fridly stated the next step is to evaluate the village’s financial situation to determine if it can afford the cost of the crossing, which he estimates would be around $200,000. He stated the money could come out of the general fund and Motor Fuel Tax funds.

“I’m excited about this,” he said. “I’m not going to run the village into the ground financially to do it.”

Fridly said he spoke with the land donor in the last six to nine months about the use of the land. The donor indicated the land must be used for a sports facility.

“He sees a need for added recreation, the added diamonds,” Fridly noted. “There is definitely a shortage of ball diamonds in the Rockton area.”

Fridly said the Rockton Youth Association (Little League) has grown “dramatically.” Fridly doesn’t know the entire scope of the development of the sports facility. “We haven’t gotten that far into it,” he stated.

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