Local

McHenry strikes dredging deal with Thelen Sand & Gravel

The Fox Waterway Agency dredges each year in the Fox River and Chain O' Lakes system to remove sediment deep enough for boats to navigate.
The Fox Waterway Agency dredges each year in the Fox River and Chain O' Lakes system to remove sediment deep enough for boats to navigate.

McHenry City Council agreed to strike a deal with Thelen Sand & Gravel at its last meeting.

The mining company requested release from two letters of credit totalling about $1 million related to the improvement of about 38 acres of property at Route 31 and Veterans Parkway. In exchange the company agreed to dispose of dredged material from Boone Creek at a steeply reduced rate.

Thelen is a building and construction supply business with locations throughout northern Illinois. It owns a mine in Lakemoor that would be ideal for dumping materials dredged from the water, according to city documents.

McHenry officials in November of 2018 agreed to partner with Fox Waterway Agency to dredge Boone Creek lagoon from the mouth of the Fox River to Green Street. The city is responsible for getting rid of the dredged materials itself.

McHenry had planned to truck the materials to its south waste water treatment plant to allow the matter to dry and then would have to truck it somewhere else for ultimate disposal.

Thelen has offered use of its site and now the city is disposing of its material there. The city is more than a third of the way done with the dredging project and on average is trucking 25 to 30 loads a day to the site.

Thelen offered to let the McHenry pay $10 per truckload for the first 500 trucks, and $20 per truckload – up to 20,000 cubic feet of material, according to city documents.

The going rate for such a service if the deal didn't go through would have been $110 a truck, said Mayor Wayne Jett.

In return, City Council members agreed to lift two letters of credit that were related to a 2003 annexation agreement between McHenry and Concord Homes. Thelan in 2015 assumed the responsibility for the agreement, according to city documents.

The agreement calls for a bike path and sidewalk on Veterans' Parkway, a traffic signal at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Route 31 and on site improvements including to infrastructure such as sewer and water, according to city documents.

The letters of credit, which guarantees there would be funds to complete those projects, expire in 2023 but improvements aren't needed until traffic in the area warrants it, according to city documents.

Thelan is ultimately still responsible for completing the improvements when the time comes and has agreed that the city can withhold building permits for the site until a new letter of credit is issued, or the improvements are completed, City Attorney David McArdle said.

"It appears we are giving up $1 million dollars in security," McArdle said. "But that collateral with expire in 2023. You have to ask yourself what are the odds that traffic will warrant it at that point?"

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