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Huntley downtown improvements cost $2.1 million and counting

HUNTLEY – The latest plan that would revamp historic downtown Huntley with added parking and landscape will cost $2.1 million and counting.

In the coming months, village officials will need to research the price to relocate overhead utility lines and level the sidewalk along Main Street, between Woodstock and Church streets. They then would need to figure out how to pay for it.

The two major "obstacles" will likely add significant costs to the downtown streetscape plan that consulants from Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne estimated would already cost $2.1 million, said Charles Nordman, the village's development services director, during a recent Village Board meeting.

"As we move forward through the process ... we believe those are going to be significant costs as part of the plan," Nordman said.

The plan's $2.1 million price tag covers the cost to beautify intersections at Route 47, extend and create new sidewalks, install a downtown clock and reconfigure parking around the village square. It would also leave Coral Street as a two-way street.

The latest version fine-tunes design concepts board members discussed during a meeting earlier this fall. The board has been planning a downtown makeover since 2010 and created a special tax district for the area last year.

But the plan's focus is the Main Street corridor, Nordman said. Officials need to move utility lines, level the sidewalks between Woodstock and Church streets, and create wider sidewalks on both ends of the corridor.

The additional research would help officials better define the costs and the ways they could pay for the improvements, said Village Manager Dave Johnson.

The newly-created tax increment financing district for the area still hasn't generated revenue, he said. The downtown TIF district takes excess property taxes from the downtown area and puts the dollars into the village's hands for redevelopment projects.

Because of the funding questions, the initial downtown improvements may take time, Johnson said. Officials could look to fund the engineering work needed to move the utility lines and level the Main Street pavement in the village's 2015 budget, he said.

"(The concept plan) is really about putting the pieces in place when the financial opportunities come into place," Johnson said.

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