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Village and city officials in McHenry County are evaluating their options after being notified that the Union Pacific Railroad is looking to sell the land surrounding a number of its northern Illinois commuter stations.

In a letter to municipal officials, Metra said Union Pacific sent the commuter railway a notice that it had entered into a master agreement with an unnamed developer to sell some or all of the 41 train station properties for about $50.9 million.

“While it reflects a master contract for 41 stations, the notice is clear that the developer may elect to not purchase individual stations,” Metra said in the letter.

McHenry County stations that could be affected are in Crystal Lake, Cary, Woodstock, Harvard and McHenry and Fox River Grove.

Metra is willing to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with municipalities to purchase the station and transfer ownership back to the town, Anthony Ognibene, director of real estate and contract management for Metra, said in the letter. The municipality would have to finance the cost of the acquisition.

“Please be aware that time is critical,” Ognibene wrote, noting that municipalities would need to enter into the intergovernmental agreement before Nov. 12.

Right now, Crystal Lake is evaluating the information it received from Metra and weighing the city’s options, Crystal Lake Assistant City Manager Eric Helm said.

“We recently received the information,” Helm said.

Read more here.

Related:Mount Prospect train station, dozens more could be sold

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Metra

Metra’s proposing a $900 million budget for 2022 that would bring train service back to 2019 levels.

Metra’s $900 million proposed budget for 2022 is a balancing act as leaders lean on federal aid to bring service back to pre-COVID-19 levels on all lines in hopes of reclaiming the absent passengers who have decimated revenues.

The tentative budget, approved for release by Metra directors Wednesday, increases spending by 12.5% from the $800 million 2021 fiscal plan. In comparison, Metra’s original budget for 2020 was $827.4 million, although projections changed because of the pandemic, and the 2019 budget was $822 million.

There will be no fare increases, officials said.

The $100 million extra will be used to fill vacant jobs, offset inflation, and run more trains, which are at about 80% of 2019 numbers. The railroad had cut multiple trains as the pandemic surged in spring 2020.

The agency intends to reduce the time a 10-ride pass is valid from one year after date of purchase to 90 days, effective Feb. 1, 2022. Similarly, one-way tickets will expire in 14 days instead of 90 days.

Read more here.

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UP MP

Mount Prospect officials are discussing what it might mean for the village of Union Pacific sells land at its downtown train station for redevelopment.

Mount Prospect officials are discussing the possible redevelopment of land surrounding the downtown Metra train station property, amid reports Union Pacific is looking to sell the land there and at dozens of other suburban commuter stations.

The area in Mount Prospect includes the parking lots along Northwest Highway from southeast of Maple Street to northwest of Route 83.

Union Pacific has been trying to sell dozens of train station properties to a developer, according to village documents, which could mean millions of dollars of revenue for the railroad company. Among the other 40 sites are Arlington Heights, Arlington Park, Des Plaines, Palatine, Barrington, Fox River Grove, Cary, Crystal Lake, Harvard, McHenry, Villa Park, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Winfield, West Chicago and Elburn.

Assistant Mount Prospect Village Manager Nellie Beckner said village staff is meeting about the possible sale this week.

“Obviously, we would love to have control over the parking lots in the train station, because that’s a key element of our downtown,” she said.

The latest communication from Metra to the village was sent on Sept. 29. It indicated that on Sept. 23, UP informed Metra that the company had entered into an agreement to sell the property at 41 stations for approximately $50.9 million.

Read more here.

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Speakers at the 2020 Economic Summit update business leaders and the community. The 2021 Economic Summit, “State of the Greater Barrington Area,” will be held virtually from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3. (Courtesy of Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce)

The Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce will host a 2021 Virtual Economic Summit, “State of the Greater Barrington Area,” from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Village officials from 11 surrounding communities will update local business leaders and the community on current economic conditions and what lies ahead for the Greater Barrington Area in 2021.

The public is invited to attend this virtual event. Cost to attend is $10. Register at www.BarringtonChamber.com.

“We are offering our Economic Summit virtually this year so that our village leaders can speak to the effects of 2020, where we are now, and what lies ahead for our region,” said BACC President/CEO Suzanne Corr. “We will hear firsthand updates on what impacts local business, residents, and the prosperity of our communities.”

Confirmed speakers to date include: Karen Darch of Barrington; Martin McLaughlin of Barrington Hills; Greg Rusteberg of Deer Park; Nandia Black of Kildeer; Kevin Richardson of Lake Barrington; Bill Jacob of Long Grove; Eleanor Sweet McDonnell of North Barrington; Shannon Yeaton of Port Barrington; and Robert Palmer of South Barrington.

Speakers will discuss the 2020 year in review, economic development accomplishments, and goals for 2020. The BACC Economic Summit is open to the public; registration for the online event is required to receive a link.

Submitted by Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce

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Kimberly Beattie Saunders was named executive director of the Barrington Area Council of Governments, only the third director since the association’s creation in 1970.

The Barrington Area Council of Governments will have a new executive director, only the third in the agency’s 51-year history.

Janet Agnoletti retires Friday after 20 years of service, and the council’s board appointed Kimberly Beattie Saunders as her successor.

Saunders brings a combination of government and legal experience, which is “a great match” for the council’s mission, said Paula McCombie, board vice chairwoman and South Barrington village president.

Saunders most recently worked as an attorney on federal financial regulatory issues, and has served as policy advisor to the governor’s office and senior government relations officer for the Chicago Transit Authority.

Saunders and her family moved from Washington, D.C., to the Barrington area in 2017, and she serves on the Tower Lakes plan commission and the North Barrington Elementary School PTO.

She said she’s most looking forward to working with local leaders “who are truly dedicated to collaboration.”

Read more here.

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • [Vote] A Resolution Approving the Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement with Cook County for the Donlea Road Drainage Investigation Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of ALPR Equipment and Related Services and Software for use by the Village Police Department Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for an Expansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Adopting by Reference of the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Consenting to an Amendment of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements for Hurstbourne Subdivision Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] Resolution of Proclamation Congratulating Janet Agnoletti Upon Her Retirement From the Barrington Area Council of Governments Res 20 –

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. Those wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

Related: Mosque replica planned for 160 Hawthorne Road?,” “Cook County to investigate Donlea Road flooding problems

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Barrington Village President Karen Darch

Barrington Village President Karen Darch, three incumbent village trustees and Village Clerk Tony Ciganek will run for reelection in the spring as part of a slate they’re calling “Barrington Forward.”

Darch, who is seeking her fifth term as the village’s top elected official, said in an announcement of the slate Tuesday that the group provides “strong, steady, and proven leadership” as Barrington continues to deal with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re working proactively to support community efforts, help our local businesses survive, and maintain the village’s fiscal stability by remaining fiscally responsible,” she said. “Meanwhile, we’re keeping an eye on the future. Barrington was thriving before this pandemic, and the Barrington Forward team will ensure we continue this positive momentum.”

The slate’s trustee candidates are Todd Sholeen, who’s served on the board since 2015; Jennifer Wondrasek, who was elected in 2017 and is seeking a second term on the panel; and Mike Moran, who was appointed to the board last year when former Trustee Jeff Janssen resigned because he was moving out of state.

Ciganek will be seeking his second term as village clerk.

Read on here.

Related: Barrington trustees agree to sales tax incentives for two high-end vehicle dealerships, bringing ‘economic rewards over time’

Barrington launching ‘Curious Questions with Karen Darch’ podcast

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Barrington Village President Karen Darch

Barrington is offering a longtime car dealership an economic incentive so it can expand and stay in the village.

Motor Werks of Barrington and the village reached an agreement, approved by trustees at the Oct. 26 Village Board meeting that allows the dealership to share a percentage of sales tax over a 10-year term. The incentive establishes a base sales tax amount of $2.7 million, a figure derived from an average of sales taxes over several previous years, according to village documents.

Under the agreement, Motor Werks would receive 65% of all sales tax revenues above the base as incentive payments and the village would get 35%, officials said.

The dealership, which sells high-end brands like Porsche and BMW, has been dealing with inadequate parking for its inventory, traffic congestion around the service and wash bays, and an inability to relocate its Cadillac dealership onsite, village officials said. It plans to purchase the Barrington Woods office complex, at 18 E. Dundee Ave., for redevelopment. The dealership will add a parking structure, vehicle recondition center and move the Cadillac brand.

Village Manager Scott Anderson said Motor Werks has been an important business in the community, and it is in the village’s best interest to partner with them to provide economic support.

Read more here.

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A new federal rule allows liquefied natural gas to be transported by train across the U.S., sparking concerns from Barrington and other suburbs.

A new player, liquefied natural gas, has joined the list of hazardous materials cruising through Illinois by train — a move the federal government says is safe but raises fears of out-of-control fires and explosions for some suburbs.

This summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation authorized railroads to haul liquefied natural gas (LNG) across the country.

Prior to approval, more than 460 entities commented — mostly critically — on the plan, including Barrington, which is crisscrossed by the Union Pacific and Canadian National railroads.

The potential for a catastrophe “is quite acute,” village officials stated. “An uncontrolled LNG release involving fire stemming from a derailment scenario must burn itself out as there is no practical way to extinguish it.”

Federal officials are confident that upgraded DOT-113 tank cars with double shells and thick carbon steel can safely contain any spills.

New requirements, such as remote monitoring of tank car pressure, will “provide for the safe transportation of LNG by rail to more parts of the country where this energy source is needed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stated.

Read on here.

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The 8th annual Hills Are Alive Fall Festival is three weeks from today

The Village mailed their Summer newsletter to residents earlier this month. Some of the topics covered included:

  • The upcoming Hills are Alive Fall Festival
  • Voting information and critical dates
  • BACOG’s annual well water testing event
  • Updates from the Police Department
  • Village roads speed limit enforcement
  • Words of prevention on theft or burglary, and
  • A pop Village knowledge quiz

If you did not receive your copy of the newsletter, you can find it here.

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