Summit Road extension is a worthwhile project
Money is tight. The economy is in a slump.
We’ve all heard the expression that sometimes, “It takes money to make money.”
This could apply to the dilemma concerning the Summit Road extension.
Since the original engineer’s estimates in 2001, the price for the project has doubled due to the cost of oil, which directly impacts the price of asphalt.
The Summit Road project has been around for two decades. The road is bisected in Sunnyland by Illinois Route 8 and leads to a deadend on one end and turns into Bittersweet Road on the other end.
The deadend portion would be extended through a small wooded area and across a field to connect with Grange Road, which connects to a major road, Route 24.
This could mean a boost for Sunnyland, which is desperately needed.
Signs could be posted at the corner of Grange and Route 24, telling motorists to take a right into Sunnyland, directly to the plaza.
Obviously, more tenants need to locate there, but perhaps they will not do so until the road is constructed, or at least underway. The largest building, which formerly housed Sullivan’s Foods, now sits empty in the plaza, which is the hub of Sunnyland.
If developers see a direct route there, they may be enticed to build. This leads to an increase in sales tax for Washington.
The Summit Road extension would ultimately lead to more development along the corridor. The city of East Peoria’s comprehensive plan shows it to develop residentially. Unfortunately, this is located in the Washington school district, but potential home buyers would pay property taxes to both communities, depending on where they lived along the road, which is a dividing line between East Peoria and Washington.
The pros are: better access to Sunnyland, better access to Illinois Central College, better access for Northern Tazewell firefighters, a possible revitalization for Sunnyland, etc.
The cons are: too costly, takes away from street repairs, and we are sure there are going to be those residents who live along the dead-end portion who do not want to see it developed because it will lead to an increase in traffic.
The pros outweigh the cons.
This road is paved with good intentions. It will be tough to raise the money to pave the way, and it is unfortunate the road is planned when the cost of oil has skyrocketed.
On the other hand, the project is timed with the Illinois Department of Transportation’s project to widen Route 8 through Sunnyland, which will include improved crosswalks and green space. When considering IDOT’s project, the timing is perfect for both projects to occur simultaneously.
East Peoria city leaders are on the right track to try to garner partnerships and possible financial support from the county. Washington city officials are already committed to paying 18 percent of the project.
When discussing the issue, Washington leaders should remember Sunnyland Plaza and that we have much to gain from the project, probably more than East Peoria will.
Everyone knows the phrase, “If you build it, they will come.”
This will likely be the case with the Summit Road extension, but we won’t know until it happens.