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Prairie Parkway No More After Federal Government Withdraws Approval

Prairie Parkway opponents plan to celebrate the end of the project at the 11th Annual ‘Stop the Beltway’ Picnic at 4 p.m. Sunday at Marvel Davis Farm in Big Rock.

State Rep. Kay Hatcher said the the federal government’s Aug. 22 decision to withdraw its approval of the Prairie Parkway could mean one less tool to respond to the area's growing need for alternative transportation solutions.

“The Parkway was designed to be limited access, lighten everyday traffic congestion and extend the life of our local highways by siphoning off the heaviest truck traffic,” she said. “There is no question that Route 47 needs work. Maintenance or expansion, however, is not the same as a new roadway.”

But after more than a decade battling the proposed Prairie Parkway, some area citizens breathing a sigh of relief.

The  37-mile-long highway project, proposed in 2001, would have connected I-80 and I-88 in Kane, Kendall, and Grundy counties. In 2005, then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert earmarked $207 million in federal tax dollars for the project. About $70 million in federal and state funds has been spent on the Prairie Parkway so far for need and environmental studies, engineering, and purchase of about 250 acres of land along the proposed route. No actual construction has taken place.

Since the federal government’s action eliminates federal funding for the project, the Illinois Department of Transportation will now shift federal funds previously allocated to the Prairie Parkway to improvements to Illinois 47 and US 34, officials said.

Two area environmental groups, Citizens Against the Sprawlway (CATS) and Friends of the Fox River, filed suit against the Federal Highway Administration, contending that the project review was inadequate. Attorneys from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Chicago public interest group, represented the groups.

“After an 11-year fight, we have finally scuttled this highway which would have
destroyed thousands of acres of prime farmland, threatened the Fox River and its tributaries, and forever changed the area’s small community way of life,” said Jan Strasma, chairman of Citizens Against the Sprawlway.

Howard A. Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, lauded Gov. Quinn’s senior team “for focusing on resolving this long-standing problem and working with us and the Federal Highway Administration on a smart solution."

“This is a better and affordable transportation solution that will improve local roadways, create needed jobs, preserve community values and protect sensitive environmental areas,” he said.

Gary Swick, president of Friends of the Fox River, also heralded the federal government’s decision.

“We are pleased that the project will no longer pose a threat to the water quality of the Fox River, and appreciative to all the partners who have worked for this decision,” he said.

Proponents of the Prairie Parkway plan to celebrate the end of the project at the 11th Annual ‘Stop the Beltway’ Picnic which begins at 4 pm Sunday at the Marvel Davis farm, 47W066 Jericho Road, near Big Rock, about five miles west of Illinois 47.

Yorkville Mayor Gary Golinski said due to the state of the current economy, the Prairie Parkway is hard to justify right now.

“My hope is that they use the allocated funds to benefit the existing north/south corridors that already exist through Yorkville,” he said. “There's no reason that Route 47 shouldn't be four lanes all the way from I-88 to I-80. If the federal and state government can't get that done, then they should grant some of that money to the local municipalities so we can take care of some of our local roadways."

Chrisi August 27, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The Prairie Parkway is officially DEAD! END OF THE ROAD FOR THE PP! Thanks to all the people who worked together (left, right, blue, red), and got it DONE TOGETHER! The last estimate for the Prairie Parkway was over $2 BILLION, that money will be better spent on upgrading, fixing, expanding existing roads & bridges right here in Kendall County which means JOBS NOW!
not you August 27, 2012 at 03:58 PM
This was a pork project designed to line the pockets of Dennis Hastert so it was more than appropriate to kill it. Now, how about bringing Metra out to Oswego Kendall county?
Laura Bee August 27, 2012 at 04:56 PM
The Hastert money grab is over. Another fine example of our fine government officials in action. We certainly need more control by the people who dearly pay for their greed. Metra in Oswego ? Ahhhhhhhh NO ! No more spending for Kendall County for a while. We are deep in debt and tax payers can't afford any more frills. Time to zip up the check book and hide it! Kendall County is the 24th highest taxed County in the entire NATION! For what ?!?! Time to cut taxes not ask for more ridiculous things to raise them. Don't forget, pension reform is coming.........Each district and county will soon be paying more out if pocket via taxes for local teacher and administration fluffy, sparklie pensions. Hold on to every cent......... You're going to need it.
Richard R August 27, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Kay Hatcher By your comments in the article it would seem some of your friends were still holding out hope they could cash in on the deal. But now they maybe left holding onto property they can't sell now for a hugh profit. No one wanted this road put in in the first place, only those that stood to make a boat load of money off of it. And to Mayor Gary Golinski How the heck is route 47 going to be 4 lanes thru the area of the Fox River in your town. It can barely handle the 2 there now. if this is how it has to be then most of those business in the downtown area will have to be demolished to make way for the road. and then I don't see them coming back unless you pay to have there business rebuilt and moved back to accommodate the road going to 4 lanes. I agree, it needs to be widened but in some areas you will lose businesses,and tax revenue, in doing so. Does not seem like the right thing to me in these tough times.
Olivia5307 August 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Hastert did squat for this county while he was in office.
Logansdad August 27, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Bringing Metra to Kendall County is not a frill. Kendall County, at least Oswego, could use public transportation.
Jennifer August 27, 2012 at 07:05 PM
"About $70 million in federal and state funds has been spent on the Prairie Parkway so far for need and environmental studies, engineering, and purchase of about 250 acres of land along the proposed route. No actual construction has taken place." to me this is a COMPLETE WASTE of my money (taxpayers money!) $70 million. Do you know how many agencies could have benefited from this $$$$$? Hesed House, Mutual Ground, food pantries, and pet shelters to name a few. It's a disgrace (this country) to allow children, at all grades to be homeless and live in cars, shelters, or the streets. I am tired of "all Good ol' boys & girls" lining their pockets and doing NOTHING for citizens and EVERYTHING for themselves. Party doesn't mean anything. It's the individual that works for ALL citizens. not the party. Enough said~
Tim August 27, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Remove on-street parking. presto - 4 lanes, with enough room left over for a center turn lane. This isn't rocket science Richard.
Tim August 27, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The warnings of the exorbitant costs of living in an exurb have been sounded for well over a decade now. Your poor financial planning should not be a reason to sacrifice the services to those who can afford it. Take a look at the 23 above you in taxes/costs. Do you notice a pattern in their locations with respect to urban centers? Perhaps it is time to think about moving to an area that you can actually afford, instead of trying to make the world bend to your desires without considering what it will do to others.
not you August 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
So long as people keep having this type of attitude toward the Metra extension, this community will continue to stagnate. Because of this stagnation, fewer people will be inclined to move out here. Fewer people mean fewer people to share the costs of school districts, police and other essential public services. Fewer people mean less housing and higher real estate taxes. I lived in Aurora for many years and commuted into the city for work using Metra only a few miles from my home. I spent my money here, I raise my kids here, I pay my local taxes just like anyone else. I moved out here to Oswego with the understanding that someday Metra would service this area too. That's why i built a new home here. I may have to work downtown again someday so maybe I should just get the hell out of here before I have to. You people can whine about your taxes all you want, eat your christian chicken sandwiches until your arteries clog. I'll find a better place for my family and money.
TLC Carpet Floors and More, Inc. August 27, 2012 at 09:56 PM
In good times the Parkway extension would have been a great benifit. Trouble is Hastert terned it into a personal money maker for him & his friends. Then with the down turn of the economy the state can't afford it. To solve it wit a 4 lane truck route down rt 47 is an assinine idea. But thats just what we will have . Water study , farm ground study , be real. Its a highway get over it we need more of them.
Bob Saget August 28, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Wow, understand this. Let's spend 2 BILLION Dollars so Kevin Roeper and some of his friends can drive to other places easily. NO. CATS and FOTFR are hicks? Most of these people (atleast in the FOTFR) are Yorkville residents. Who has more hicks; Yville or Morris? Morris! I believe you're another feeder off the government. You receive money, but never pay any taxes, don't work, etc.
Logansdad August 28, 2012 at 12:25 AM
I thought I have seen everything. Now we are arguing over which town has more hicks. LOL
Logansdad August 28, 2012 at 12:27 AM
I have been riding Metra into Chicago for 12 years. I would have hoped Oswego would have had a Metra station by now. Every 4-5 years they do a new study. It would be nice to be able to drive 3 minutes to the Oswego station instead of having a 20 minute drive.
Bob Saget August 28, 2012 at 12:42 AM
LOL Logansdad. Just stating the obvious... Trying to help his peasant brain understand.
Jillian Duchnowski August 28, 2012 at 12:52 AM
I've deleted a comment for using masked profanity. Let's keep the comments section clean, please.
Tim August 28, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Ah, the patch double standard rides again! When an editor does it = good. When a commenter does it = bad. http://shorewood-il.patch.com/articles/ruby-to-drew-f-you-cops-to-ruby-go-to-jail Aside from the idea that it is somehow normal to be offended by words that YOU finished spelling, at least get some consistency.

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