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Local News

Bumpy road prompts complaint

Village says it wants to fix Orchard Lane

ROUND LAKE BEACH – Orchard Lane, a well-traveled street that links Rollins and Monaville roads, is getting bumpy.

On Monday, resident Bill Kowalski, who lives in the 2600 block of Orchard, took his concerns to the Round Lake Beach village board. His family moved into the neighborhood in 1994. Since then, he said, it has become a connecting street.

In complaining about the street, Kowalski said he was trying to keep a "glass-is-half-full approach."

"There are some good things happening in the village – whether it be the completion of an intersection or the prospect of a new business. It reflects the good and hard work by a lot of people here," he said.

But he said the deteriorating condition of Orchard Lane makes it harder for him to justify staying in that neighborhood, "where it looks like the area isn't cared for."

He acknowledged the village has put on some "Band-Aids," but added that the street needed resurfacing. He also said deposits of sand and weeds remain on the side of the road.

Kowalski is no stranger to the village board. He has been going to the board for years with complaints about Orchard, as early as 2011, meeting minutes show.

Mayor Rich Hill said he thought street sweeping was done regularly on Orchard, to which Public Works Director Gary Gramhofer responded that he would check into it.

"Maybe the company is not doing it," Hill said.

On the condition of the street, the mayor said the village would see whether it could get federal money to help with improvements. But he said it wouldn't be until next year that Round Lake Beach finds out whether it could get the funds.

Under the best-case scenario, he said, the street would be resurfaced in two years. Village Administrator David Kilbane promised that he would go through the village's streets plan with Kowalski.

Village Trustee Chuck Husk said things have changed on Orchard Lane.

"It has become a busy road. With construction on 83, the road has been used as a bypass. We have a large plan to work on roads throughout the village. There are roads with deep potholes," he said.

Kilbane said the village had wanted to do the Orchard project sooner.

"We all know about the economy. We have had our commercial corridor torn up," he said. "We hope we have seen the bottom of the housing market."

The village, Kilbane said, is trying to improve streets without raising taxes.

After the board meeting, Kowalski said a lot of secondary roads in his subdivision were repaved five years ago. Those streets needed it, but so does Orchard, which sees much more traffic, he said.

"Orchard Lane has never been repaved," he said. "Some people are influenced by their surroundings. If the village is not going to take care of the place, why should we?"

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