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Mayor responds to criticism over New Lenox’s sewage plant plans

The mayor had presented the public with new information on the Village’s potential plans to purchase property located off of Summerfield Road near Silver Cross Hospital. Officials faced opposition regarding the project in recent weeks, in part, because a $1.9 million due diligence deal was enacted for a regional wastewater plant site eyed off of Delaney Road.

“This is not, as I read somewhere, smoke in mirrors,” Baldermann said. “This isn’t real? No, this is very real. We’re not wasting your time; we’re not wasting our time.”

Many of those on hand for the special meeting applauded the Village’s new alternate location for the project. At the time, some residents expressed a desire to know more about the financial implications it could have. Village Administrator Kurt Carroll said those details are to be presented at a later date.

The Village has three options to weigh, to date. Option No. 1 involves expanding the Jackson Branch plant for an estimated cost of $121 million. Another option details plans to build the project off of Delaney Road for an estimated cost of $134 million. The third alternate highlights the Village’s plans to use property located near Silver Cross Hospital for an estimated price tag of $4 or 5 million more than the latter.

Baldermann said the Village intends to move forward with the newest option presented to the public at its special meeting.

“My hope is that by the first board meeting in April, we can have that contract for the board to accept,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that that’s something we’re going to do to then move forward with the due diligence out at [wastewater treatment] plant [No.] 3.”

The Village Board took action earlier during its regular meeting to extend New Lenox’s due diligence deal with Hartz Homes for the property off of Delaney Road through May 28.

“We have been working with counsel to move forward to offer up a contract for the purchase of the property by [wastewater treatment] plant [No.] 3 off Summerfield Road,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to take us a little while to go through that. That’s why we’ve got the 60-day extension [the Village Board] approved here tonight with the extension off Delaney Road.”

The mayor said in the end, he and the Village Board will make the decision to do what they feel is best for the entire community.

“We need to get going on this project,” Baldermann said. “This is a fast growing community. We are at capacity at [wastewater treatment plant No.] 1; we are near capacity, if not there, at [wastewater treatment plant No.] 2. It’s very real the concerns that we have.”

A new regional wastewater treatment plant is anticipated to take four years to complete.

The mayor encouraged people to sit in on the Village Board meetings, much like they had for the special meeting.

“It was good engagement between the community and the board, and [I’m] really very happy with that,” Baldermann said. “When you’ve got a crowd that loud and that passionate on an emotional issue to have good exchange of information. … That’s what government’s all about.”

New development in talks for New Lenox

Also at the meeting, the Board of Trustees reviewed an ordinance amending a special use request for a final planned unit development plat off of Route 30.

The developer, MJR, has confirmed that New Lenox Town Center, a multi-tenant commercial development planned for the vacant lot in front of Walmart and a potential Menards, will have Chipotle as one of it tenants.

“It’s a chain we heard people wanted,” Assistant Village Administrator Robin Ellis said.

The nearest Chipotle is currently located in the Village of Frankfort.

Ellis said keeping residents’ sales tax dollars in New Lenox is viewed as a benefit to bringing the establishment to town.

The approximate 10,000-square-foot lot is anticipated to house four or five tenants.

Construction for the approximate 2,500-square-foot restaurant is slated to begin this spring, Ellis said. A potential opening date could be as early as the year’s end.

Round it up

A brief recap of action and discussion March 12 at a regular meeting of the New Lenox Village Board of Trustees:

  • A motion was passed to approve a surety for Old Plank Center Lot 11 in the amount of $24,118.75 for completion of public improvements.

  • The Board of Trustees will meet 7 p.m. March 19 at its Committee of the Whole meeting to review the Village’s fiscal year 2018-2019 budget.

  • Early voting continues this week for New Lenox residents at Village Hall. Voters are encouraged to drop in anytime from 9 a.m. until 4p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on the March 20 primary election, visit

  • Baldermann presented Finance Director Kim Auchstetter with the certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting awarded to the Village New Lenox by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report.

  • A motion was passed to award an engineering contract of $22,000 to Christopher B. Burke Engineering for railroad quiet zones on the Metra Southwest Service Line. The quiet zone would include Wood Street (entrance to Sanctuary Golf Course), Joliet Highway, Illinois Highway, Laraway Road, Delaney Road, Cedar Road, Private Crossing, and Baker Road.

  • A motion was passed to extend a proposal to Spaceco for engineering services related to the planned retail development, comprised of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant and Pete’s Fresh Market, for the intersection of Vancina Lane and Route 30.

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