After much discussion, the city of Carlyle is planning to take a step back for now on the proposed sports complex and look into doing a feasibility study.
    City administrator Andy Brackett said at Monday's city council meeting that the council has been dealing with a lot of misconceptions from the public regarding the sports complex.
    "The city council is trying to do what’s best for the city," said Brackett, adding that the controversial sports complex is no way intended to be political within the city.
    Brackett said that there has been a ton of interest regarding the sports complex, and when the time comes, they would like people to come out and give them their input.
    "This gives the best option to have a voice," he said.
    During the public comments portion of the meeting, developer Duane Nordike elaborated on his proposal for a sports complex. His proposal would be located southwest of the Way of Life Church, bordering the lines of Old State Commons Subdivision, which is not located in a flood zone and has perfect drainage to the south.
    It was noted that the sports complex would include 27 acres of ground, 240 parking spaces, a soccer complex measuring 340’x430’ — compatible to the International Official Soccer Field dimensions, four softball diamonds, an open area for a future playground, approximately 250,000 square feet, and would also have a concession stand and four pavilions. His bid also includes an ADA sidewalk from the parking lot to the concession stand, a chain-link fence for each ball field, aluminum bleachers, concrete pads for all bleachers and player benches, a shade system, lighting system mounted on concrete poles, and infield drain tile and grass outfield. 
    The property would also have access from the east onto Fairfax Street/Old State Road, Flatbranch Road from the north, Pipeline Road from the south off Old Route 50, and from the west from New Route 50 to Nehrt Road to Old State Road.
    The total for the bid was $1,785,685. If irrigation was added, it would be $67,400 extra, or $1,853,085. All necessary design work has been done and the project is shovel ready.
    Nordike told the council that he has a better offer on the table from an interested buyer about buying the proposed ground, but was willing to work with the city.
    "This is to the point where we are getting up in age and moving on," Nordike said, adding that he gave a deadline of Nov. 1 for the city to make a decision. The Nov. 1 date was a date that farmers use for contracts.
    Carlyle resident Brad Hoffman said that he had this down to three things that the council should be looking at — design, development and dollars. 
    "With design, what you will get for the money to accommodate all sports at all times. With development, for development for the future," he said, adding that even connecting Flat Branch Road to New Route 50 would bring in more development.
    "The other thing is dollars — what is the best use of dollars that Carlyle will spend," he said. "Can you afford to do this? If not, we are eight years into it, and if the city of Carlyle does not have the funding to do that, speak now or forever hold your peace. We need to know and moving ahead as a city, do we have the dollars for this or not?  There is nothing wrong with saying that you don't have the money to move ahead with the project."

bridgeCrews from Plocher Construction work on the west end of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s reconstruction of the bridges spanning Crooked Creek on Illinois Route 161 near Centralia in early October. (Photo by Bryan Hunt)    Now in the third phase of the reconstruction, an engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation on Oct. 10 shared details of the Illinois Route 161 improvement project west of Centralia.
    Paul Grabowski, talking by phone, said, “Everything is going well; we expect to be open on the completion date and have it reopened by Dec. 1, barring anything very unusual.”
    IDOT, working with Plocher Construction of Highland and their subcontractors, began the reconstruction project in January with the closure of that stretch of roadway.
    Crooked Creek is 3.3 miles east of Hoffman and a mile outside of Centralia, and Route 161 has been a major throughway for those coming into and out of the city for work and commerce.
    The reconstruction was deemed necessary by IDOT to replace aged and deficient 80-year-old bridges and culverts at that location, and to provide added flood protection for the roadway, while at the same time improving intersections at Route 161 and Shattuc and Noltings roads.
    The work involves the replacement and elevating of the bridges and roadways, and improvements to the shoulders.
    “The bridge, I would say, is 99 percent done” Grabowski said, with a little bit of work to do on what’s called parapets, low protective walls along the edge of a roof, bridge or balcony.
    Plocher Construction is still moving in some dirt at the site but that work should be concluding soon.
    There is still the laying of aggregate base for the roadway to be done in addition to the related paving to come. 
    Grabowski said there should be a fairly large box culvert coming to completion on the west side of the bridge, between the west end of the bridge itself and Noltings Road.
    This was part of the project Plocher couldn’t get to as scheduled because of flooding in that location. Frequent rains and flooding caused Plocher and IDOT to go to a six-day work week to keep on schedule.
    Grabowski said once the box culvert work is finished they will move on to paving, the laying of rock.
    The dry weather has helped the project move along close to  schedule, Grabowski said, “but who knows what’s going to come here in the future. We get that box culvert [done] really there’s going to be nothing to stop us after that.”

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