By Vinde Wells
Polo residents will see some changes in traffic signs and parking regulations in the near future.
The city council approved an ordinance July 21 that amends where signs are located and where parking is allowed.
New stop signs will be put in place at northbound Marco Avenue at Dixon Street, southbound Lincoln Avenue at Wilson Street, westbound Wilson Street at Galena Trail Road, and the water plant drive at the north end of the Ill. 26 bridge.
New yield signs will go up on westbound Elkhorn Street at Congress Avenue (replaces a stop sign), southbound Maple Avenue at North Street, northbound Thomas Avenue at Sunset Drive, northbound Walnut Avenue at Hillside Drive, southbound Thomas Avenue at Buffalo Street, westbound Meadows Street at Barber Avenue, northbound Barber Avenue at Oriole Drive, westbound Dement Street at Congress Avenue, westbound Provost Street at Congress Avenue, westbound Webster Street at Barber Avenue, eastbound Wayne Street at Green Avenue, and northbound Marco Avenue at Buffalo Street.
Parking will be prohibited at four new locations:
• on the west side of the abandoned Illinois Central Gulf road bed from Oregon Street to Buffalo Street. Parallel parking only is allowed on the east side from May 1 to Sept. 15 each year;
• on the north side of East Wayne Street between Prairie and Pleasant Avenues;
• the east and west sides of Jefferson Avenue from Buffalo Street to Webster Street; and
• the west side of South Franklin Avenue from the intersection with the northwest corner of West Colden Street south for 155 feet (across from the fire station).
The ordinance also now allows parking on the north side of Wayne Street from Division Avenue to Franklin Avenue. Parking had previously been prohibited there.
Mayor Doug Knapp said the changes were recommended by Police Chief Dennis Christen and Street Superintendent Kendall Kyker.
In another matter, the council learned that a recent property request has become more complicated.
Tommy and Lori Blake, 706 N. Adams Ave., asked the council earlier this month to consider either selling them the land east of their property or vacating it.
The Blakes want to build a garage behind their house but will have no way to access it from Adams Avenue.
Instead, they would like to access it from the back through what was formerly the Illinois Central Railroad right-of-way, now owned by the city.
They would like to own or have an easement through the property directly behind their parcel, which is 60 feet wide.
However, since their property in the middle of the block, the Blakes would still need an easement to the south through the former railroad property to gain access to Elkhorn Street.
The old right-of way is 100 feet wide and runs for several blocks. The portion behind the Blakes’ property is overgrown with trees and brush.
City attorney Tom Suits said that if the city vacates the property, half would go to the adjoining property owner on each side.
Tommy Blake told the council July 21 that the DeCranes, who own the house south of his, are not interested in obtaining the land behind their property through a vacation proceeding.
He said Charles Schmidt, who owns the farmland east of the railroad right-of-way, has indicated an interest in buying the entire parcel that adjoins his land. The parcel lies between Schmidt’s property and the lots owned by the Blakes, the DeCranes, and Greg Chambers.
Suits said that if the other property owners do not object, the city could vacate the entire parcel to Schmidt.
As an alternative, it could be offered for sale to the highest bidder.
If the city sells the property, Suits said state statutes require that it but first be appraised, and the sale price must be at least 80 percent of the appraised value.