Changes & challenges: Elburn’s year in review

By on December 31, 2011

Photo: Public Works came to the rescue on Feb. 2, when a blizzard dumped 18.5 inches of snow on the streets and roads. File Photo

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The year 2011 saw changes and challenges for the village of Elburn. One of those changes was an increase in the number of residents: Elburn now has more than 5,000 people living within its borders—5,506, to be exact.

With that number comes the Illinois requirement that a Police Commission be created within 30 days of the official report. Village President Dave Anderson appointed three members to the first Police Commission: Wayne Byerhoff, Wiley Overly and Judy Van Bogart.

The Village Board also saw changes after the April election. It said goodbye to trustees Gordon Diershaw and Patricia Rompke and welcomed Dave Gualdoni and Ethan Hastert. Incumbent Bill Grabarek was re-elected.

The village changed its financial system from cash to accrual that brought its financial procedures up to date. It finished the storm sewer project in Cambridge and put a new roof on the wastewater treatment building. The damage to that building from run-off was costing the village $2,000 to $4,000 a year.

“We stopped the bleeding with a new roof. The building had deteriorated to the point of it needing to be done,” Anderson said.

Two public meetings to discuss the Elburn Station concept plan and the Anderson Bridge extension were heavily attended. Citizens expressed concerns about the Sho-deen, Inc. plan to develop the area around the Metra station.

If the land around the station is not developed in the near future, the county stands to lose $18 million in federal and state funds. Those funds would be used to build a bridge over the railroad east of the Metra and create a bypass off Route 47 from Route 38 to Keslinger Road.

Public Works came to the rescue on Feb. 2, when a blizzard dumped 18.5 inches of snow on the streets and roads.

“The snow started falling around 2 p.m., and by 9:30 or 10 p.m. the roads were too dangerous even for the snow plows,” a Feb. 10 article in the Elburn Herald reported. “But Metra was still running, and a late train was due to arrive.”

Snow plows kept the roads open as long as they could and escorted the people arriving by train to warming stations at the Fire Department. The estimated cost of snow removal in the 48-hour period following the blizzard was $22,000.

Cyclists and hikers can now follow a trail that connects the village of Elburn to the Elburn Forest Preserve from a trailhead at North and Reader streets. Construction of the parking lot, restrooms and four miles of trails began in the spring.

The village was pleasantly surprised when the $10,000 grant it had applied for from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to update the village’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan was upgraded to $100,000. The money will be used to amend maps and write changes to create a new plan.

“The plan had not been done since 1993. It’s a living, breathing document that should change with the times,” Anderson said.

An audit of village finances showed the coffers with a bit more money than with what they started the year.

“I’m most proud of the audit this year,” Anderson said. “It was watched well enough a year ago that we have more money in the bank than when we started—$30,000 to the positive.”

Anderson said that despite the positive balance, the biggest challenge in the last year has been the economy.