The Illinois Valley Central School District 321 board voiced its opposition to the building of a proposed gravel pit facility in Medina Township at its Tuesday meeting.
The Illinois Valley Central School District 321 board voiced its opposition to the building of a proposed gravel pit facility in Medina Township at its Sept. 23 meeting.
Township supervisor John Dawson gave a presentation asking for the school board’s support in joining other groups in opposing the 222-acre facility.
Mossville Land Investments LLC seeks a special-use permit for land zoned for both agriculture and industrial use at 14728 N. Old Galena Road.
Dawson said other groups, such as the Sierra Club, Peoria Park District, Illinois Department of Transportation and township planning commission, along with State Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria) and State Rep. Dave Leitch (R-Peoria) have already drafted letters against the project.
With the school board’s vote, members will sign a similar letter and add it to a packet for the county zoning office.
There are also petitions with more than 400 signatures from area neighbors of the proposed project.
“The Equalized Assessed Valuation impact could be $125 to $150 million, and it will hurt residents, future growth for families, the drinking water and create less tax dollars,” Dawson said.
Dawson said he also has a personal problem with the proximity of the project to the cemeteries.
“I don’t think the old settlers buried there would want their tombstones next to a strip mine,” he added.
Dawson said Risinger’s opposition to the facility was strong because the senator is designing stage coach route markers to be placed on Old Galena Road.
Old Galena Road is considered by some to be the oldest continuously operated road in the state of Illinois.
“If this gravel pit project fails, there are no other options,” Dawson said.
“It’s not like a structure we can tear down and rebuild,” he added.
Superintendent Dr. Dave Kinney said he opposes the project because it is a waste of land and money.
“Five or six houses in that area would generate the same amount of income,” Kinney said.
Board member Donna Uebler said she found Dawson’s presentation compelling and did not understand how anyone could support the facility.
“I’m just thinking of the transportation issues with their trucks and our buses, and the safety of our kids is a concern,” Uebler said.
Dawson said the gravel pit proposal still must be heard by the county zoning board of appeals and land use committee before it comes before the full Peoria County Board.
“Even with all of the government bodies’ opposition though, it could still go the courts level, however,” Dawson added.
In other board action and discussion:
• the board approved a two-year renewable cooperative agreement between Chillicothe Elementary Center and St. Edward’s School for boys’ basketball.
Board member Steve Nalley said the agreement will include no guarantees of transportation and must not cause a hindrance or delay to practices or games.
• the board approved a resolution for the sale of tax anticipation notes for cash flow purposes.
Assistant superintendent Patrick Hatfield said Heartland Bank came in with the lowest bid at 3.25 percent for the notes.
Hatfield said the notes will be invested at 3.75 percent for 13 months.
• the board approved the hiring of Steve Maurer as a part-time assistant wrestling coach for IVC High School.
• Principal Kenton Bergman gave a presentation on the PSAE/ACT results for the high school.
IVC met adequate yearly progress for both tests and finished above state average across the board.
ACT composite scores were at 21.7 for IVC, while the state average is 20.5.
Reading and math scores in the PSAE count toward AYP, and for IVC, those scores were 61.4 and 58.9, respectively.
The state average is 53.3 and 53.0.
Board president Jim Hollenback said it is nice to see students on track and teachers working hard, but he would like to see scores reach 70 percent.