What’s in store around the county for 2013?

Road widening and other improvements on Route 3 in Waterloo could start sometime later this year. Pictured is the pro- posed roundabout at Route 156 and Lakeview Drive. Click to view larger image.

With 2012 officially behind us, Monroe County has a host of things to look forward to in 2013.

The City of Waterloo will celebrate its 125th anniversary this year on Aug. 29. The first project to commemorate this milestone is a week-long quilting bee Jan. 5-12 at Morrison-Talbott Library. The public is invited by the Friends in Stitches Quilt Guild to help put together two quilts in honor of Waterloo’s big birthday.

One finished quilt will be on display at Waterloo City Hall throughout the year, with a permanent home in the Monroe County History Museum, while the other quilt will be raffled off later this year.

Among the big changes slated for Waterloo this year is the Route 3 improvement project, which will be bid out in the first half of the year, with work tentatively expected to begin in the latter half.

The first element of the project to get under way will be the connection of Vandebrook Drive and South Market Street and much of the widening of Route 3, according to Illinois Department of Transportation Project Engineer Michael Pritchett.

The entire project, which will likely take more than one construction season to complete, includes the connection of Vandebrook and Market Street, added lanes in each direction of Waterloo’s 4.3-mile stretch of Route 3, along with a stoplight at Illinois Avenue, a shared use path for walkers and bicyclists, and the county’s first roundabout just west of Route 3 at Route 156 and Lakeview Drive. There will also be an eight- to 12-foot “noise wall” installed behind a dozen or so homes on Mark Drive, as well as an underpass for the walking and biking trail to pass under Library Street.

The Waterloo Fire Department hopes to break ground this spring on a new fire station at 500 Illinois Avenue, the former site of the Monroe County Nursing Home. The Waterloo Fire Department has called the current station on North Main Street its home since 1961, renting the roughly 8,000-square-foot building from the city.
“We’re cramped for space,” Waterloo Fire Chief Mark Yeager said in a 2011 interview.

Parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church in Columbia will have a milestone year when its new church, located at 411 Palmer Road, is dedicated during a formal mass officiated by Bishop Edward K. Braxton on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Also in Waterloo, work continues on the new William Zimmer Memorial Park located off Rogers Street in Waterloo. The park dedication and opening is planned for May 2013.

Construction continues on the new, larger Dollar General being built on Market Street at the former site of Diehl Florist in Waterloo. It is expected to be open by the spring, weather permitting.

And an April municipal election could usher in change or ensure continuity in the Columbia mayor’s seat, Columbia and Waterloo city councils, Valmeyer village board, Waterloo Park District, and Columbia and Waterloo school boards. The election will be April 9.

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