Archive for the ‘Cuba Rd Bridge’ Category

We are very pleased to announce that we have two outstanding recipients of the 2016 Shining Star AwardTrustee Brian Cecola and Village Treasurer Margaret “Peggy” Hirsch. Each of them, in their own way, has been a force for positive change in our village government.


As many of our readers know, Brian Cecola was elected as a Trustee in 2015 after another brutal campaign season. Voters hoped that Cecola, having been a fireman and with real-world job experience in paving and snowplowing, would be an asset on the village board. Recognizing this strong resume, Village President Martin McLaughlin assigned Cecola the chairmanship of the Roads and Bridges Committee as well as Public Safety.

Brian took to both roles easily, but he has definitely had the biggest impact when dealing with infrastructure issues. The village has made great strides in catching up on the backlog of road resurfacing projects which accumulated under the past administration. And Cecola repeatedly has gone to bat for residents to stretch their tax dollars farther. For example, the Village Engineer suggested prioritizing resurfacing the Village Hall parking lots when a surplus in the Roads and Bridges Budget emerged this year. Instead, Cecola instructed the engineer to move forward to this year other future road projects which would be more beneficial to residents, after confirming with the engineer that delaying the parking lot project would not lead to dangerous deterioration in the short term. And, in 2015, Brian requested a new bid proposal for restriping the village hall lots after determining the original bidder was much too high, again saving taxpayers money.

During the process of the reconstruction of the Cuba Road Bridge (now named Veteran’s Crossing Bridge), when it was discovered that numerous utilities had been relocated incorrectly, Cecola took a pro-active role in meeting with Com Ed to discuss the problems their crews had caused by their newly installed, but misplaced, utility poles. Corrective action was expedited by ComEd, and a potentially significant delay in the completion of the bridge project was averted due to Brian’s intervention.

Brian has also pushed for Village membership into the Northwest Municipal Conference, which was approved by the Board of Trustees via an Intergovernmental Agreement with Cook County. As a result, the schedule for the direly needed rehabilitation of Brinker Road should be accelerated, and Federal funds should be available to help with the costs, without any need for bike lanes to be integrated into the project.

In addition to his service on the Barrington Hills Village Board, Brian is also very active in the community – he is immediate Past-President of the Barrington Lions Club and is instrumental in the annual Fourth of July Brat Tent and Barrington Fourth of July activities, along with his wife Stephanie.



Our second 2016 Shining Star is Margaret “Peggy” Hirsch. Peggy took on the part-time role of Village Treasurer in March 2016, and has impressed us with her high level of skill and competence. She has brought an impressive resume to the office, having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She has held numerous high-ranking financial positions at top firms in the Chicago area, and has also served as Treasurer for the Village of Lake Barrington since 2013, bringing much needed municipal experience to her new position in our village.

Hirsch makes it a point to attend Board of Trustee meetings where she capably and easily fields questions from the trustees on a myriad of complex monthly financial reports. Her thoroughness and professionalism are apparent and the village should consider itself lucky to have an individual of her caliber on its staff.

Peggy and her husband David are also Barrington Hills residents, and they both dedicate their talents to TeamDad, LLC, created by David in 1998 to support the efforts of Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and other non-profit fatherhood organizations across the United States.

We should be proud as a village to have Brian Cecola and Peggy Hirsch volunteer their talents to serve their hometown community. These 2016 Shining Star award recipients are to be commended for the time and energy they devote on a daily basis to making Barrington Hills a better place for us to live. Thank you from your neighbors and from all of us at the Observer!

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The Observer takes a look back at another year gone by, as we present the most frequently read news stories and editorials for 2016. Click on any title to read and revisit stories from this past year.

August 30th Zoning Board public hearing recordings published

Our most read and most commented upon story of 2016, this article summarized the August 30th Zoning Board meeting which concluded the public hearings on the latest text amendment proposal for commercial horse boarding codes.

WARNING: Beware of phantom developers!

This story discussed a fear-mongering letter that was mailed to residents throughout the  village, containing unsubstantiated claims of Barrington Hills once again being imperiled by greedy developers.

Why Anderson II must go

In October, the Observer reviewed the myriad of flaws in the Anderson II commercial boarding ordinance and explained the importance of reinstating boarding under the Home Occupation Ordinance.

There they go again

Despite the misinformation repeated at many recent meetings, archived Village Board minutes from 1960 show that village leaders then did not approve of commercial equestrian activities on residential properties, having shut down a riding school for being in violation of village code.  This feature also drew the second most comments of any story for 2016.

June Village Board Meeting Recordings Released

Our review of the Board of Trustees June meeting covered several topics, but focused primarily on the ongoing delays with the reconstruction of the Cuba Road Bridge (now known as Veteran’s Crossing Bridge).  The article highlighted the lack of proper oversight of the project by Gewalt Hamilton, as well as some confusing explanations of the situation by Village Administrator Bob Kosin.

Here we go again

As the Zoning Board of Appeals was about to begin a review of the commercial horse boarding code, the Observer dispelled a long list of oft-repeated fallacies, fictions and lies concerning equestrian activities and horse boarding in this column from July.

Candidates file for April 2017 Village Elections

The title speaks for itself in this most recent top story, highlighting the high level of resident interest in our village government.

Park District to begin charging user fees for Riding Center

The July announcement by the Park District of its intention to set up a fee structure for resident and n0n-resident users of the Riding Center drew a large audience.

Documents added to ZBA horse boarding code hearing package

In the days leading up to the August 30th ZBA meeting, readers were eager to review the 291 pages of documentation that had been submitted to the Zoning Board in the form of court documents, resident and Village official emails, affidavits, Village engineering and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency reports and form letters.


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As 2016 comes to a close, we asked Northwest suburban mayors to to look back on something their community accomplished in the past year and look ahead at something they hope to accomplish in 2017. Here are their replies, in some cases edited for length.

martyMartin J. McLaughlin, Barrington Hills

In 2016, Barrington Hills reduced the tax levy, while increasing the village’s cash reserves, and accomplishing more roadway improvements per year than had been done in the prior 10 years. In addition, the village budget has been reduced from $8.4 million in 2013 to $7.5 million forecast for 2017, with village spending again projected to be below what was budgeted, as operational efficiencies continue to benefit our residents.

Our village finalized the construction of our largest capital project in village history — the former Cuba Road Bridge, which we have named Veterans Crossing Bridge to honor those men and women in uniform who protect our freedoms.

In 2017, we will be communicating with owners of large parcels of land bordering our community in an attempt to reclaim rural open space acreage lost under the prior administration. We will be rolling out a new village website which will make it easier for residents to get the necessary information, records and permits required directly from our site, as well as providing a Village Lifestyle section where current and future residents can be introduced to all of the events, organizations, clubs, and freedoms that rural open space living with limited government oversight affords in Barrington Hills.

Read the full report from the Daily Herald here.

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The Roads & Bridges Committee meets this afternoon at 4:00 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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Audio recordings from the August 25th meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee meeting are available for review on the Village website.  There was no public comment during a fairly routine meeting, however, we are pleased to report Trustee Gohl, who is assigned to the committee, attended the meeting for the first time in well over a year.

Finishing touches are being completed on Veteran’s Crossing (formerly the Cuba Road Bridge), including trash cleanup and seeding and grading where grass was disturbed.  Dan Strahan, Village Engineer, also reiterated that the Village will receive a discount off of the final invoice for the bridge reconstruction due the Contractor’s delay in the completion of the bridge.

Spring Creek Road west of Haegers Bend Road will be closed until December due to road work.  This is primarily due to work Algonquin is performing on Highland Avenue, however, Barrington Hills is paying for a small portion of the work to resurface the road within our border.

It was reported that the 2016 roads and drainage projects as well as engineering fees are coming in at or below budget even with the addition earlier this year of resurfacing a portion of River Road which was scheduled for 2017.

IDOT issued a transportation bulletin which included a request for proposal for “Phase I” engineering feasibility study in 2017 for the widening of Algonquin Road (IL 62) to four lanes in Barrington Hills in anticipation of the Longmeadow Parkway Project going through.  Strahan noted this planning project was specified as a 48-month task, so even this first step would likely take over four years.

Trustee Cecola mentioned that in a prior meeting with an IDOT official on the matter it was agreed that some form of crossing to allow horseback riders would be considered over the widened roadway in the form of a bridge or an underpass to prevent the disconnection of trails.  That full IDOT discussion can be heard here.

To access the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic, click here.

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The Village Board of Trustees will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening beginning at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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The Roads & Bridges Committee will hold their monthly meeting tomorrow at 4:00 PM.  A copy of the complete agenda can be viewed here.

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Cuba Bridge DelayedWhen the Village announced the reopening of the Cuba Road Bridge would occur yesterday, they were likely acting on guidance from Gewalt Hamilton, IDOT or both.  Unfortunately, neither bothered to check the weather forecast that had predicted rain yesterday, and that’s not favorable for blacktop paving since the water can prevent adherence between layers of new asphalt.

We understand the bridge is open to foot and bicycle traffic for now, and Tuesday, August 16th,  it will finally open to vehicular traffic.  Though it is little consolation to residents who are inconvenienced, the contractor will have to reimburse IDOT and Barrington Hills for this latest delay per their contract.

Our thanks go to readers who commented or emailed us updates on the bridge delay.

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VC CeremonyThe Cuba Road Bridge will be reopening later today under a new name – Veteran’s Crossing.

The Village is inviting residents, especially veterans, to join Village officials in a ribbon cutting ceremony at 6:00 PM at the east end of the new bridge at the intersection of Buckley and Cuba Roads.  Veterans are encouraged to arrive fifteen minutes before the ceremony, and they will be the first to cross the bridge, officially making it “Veteran’s Crossing.”

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Audio recordings from the July 21st meeting of the Board of Trustees were recently posted to the Village website for review.  To access the main menu of recordings edited by agenda topic, click here.

The meeting began with awards presentations to members of the Barrington Hills Police Department for their length of service to our community.  JoAnne Gumprecht was recognized for 20 years of service, Alice Runvik for 25 years, and Dominic Caputo for 30 years.  Their awards are pictured below, and the recording of the presentations can be heard here.

VBHPD Awards

Five residents made remarks during public comment, three of which pertained to a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.  One person spoke about Barrington Hills Farm, and the last person referenced what we assume is a suggestion for the renaming of the Cuba Road Bridge.

The forty-five minute Finance report included the approval of the 2015 fiscal year audit.  A summary of the results will likely be communicated in the next newsletter, however it’s worth noting the Village general fund increased eight percent in 2015 primarily due to decreased expenses, even with one-time charges associated with migrating the Village 911 service to QuadCom.

During the Roads & Bridges report, Village Engineer Dan Strahan reported that the latest forecast for reopening the Cuba Road Bridge is August 13th.  We didn’t notice anyone working at the job site yesterday morning, but we’ll be guardedly optimistic that the bridge will be opening sometime soon.

The Plan Commission will be voting on a final draft of the amended Tree Preservation Ordinance on August 9th.  The agenda packet for this special meeting has been released and can be viewed here.

The Administration report included a recommendation from the Heritage & Environs Committee for updates to the overall décor of Village Hall, which has not been touched in decades, including painting, updating the public restrooms to adhere to ADA requirements and replacing worn carpeting and the quarry tile in the front entrance. 

Since the total estimated amounts for all that needs to be done is substantial, the board was asked to prioritize what should be done first and come up with a capital expenditure amount for this year not to be exceeded to allow work to begin.  After nearly twenty minutes of discussion, the matter was tabled to the August meeting.

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