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City outlines costs with bridge project

City outlines its contributions to First Avenue Bridge project

ROCK FALLS – The city wants people to know it did contribute to the First Avenue Bridge reconstruction project.

At its meeting Tuesday night, Electric Department Director Dick Simon said Rock Falls paid $205,519 to replace its fiber optics along the bridge.

“When the bridge was rebuilt, we had to pull all of our existing fiber, which cannot be reused after it’s pulled, and we had to, at our expense, put all new fiber across the bridge,” City Administrator Robbin Blackert said after the meeting. “We also had to pay for the conduit, the materials, the labor, everything. It’s an expensive proposition.”

The fiber links CGH Medical Center to the rural health network, Blackert said.

Also part of the $205,000?

“We were required to pay for lights on this side of the bridge that match the bridge,” she said. “We also paid for the lighting underneath the bridge that’s going to light the bike path.”

In a previous email to Sauk Valley Media, Hadley Skeffington-Vos, assistant to Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard, said Rock Falls had the opportunity to pay for bridge enhancements and decorative light poles, but chose “not to pay for more than they were required, which I believe was two or three light poles on their end. They didn’t get the poles with the banner-hanging spokes.”

Sterling paid for the decorative lighting – the light poles with spokes – and for the railings.

Council creates social media, Hennepin Canal committees

ROCK FALLS – The city agreed to create two new committees Tuesday night, one that officials hope will help improve communications with residents, and one that might spur more tourism to the city.

Alderman John Watts will lead the Social Media committee; Alderman Jim Schuneman the Hennepin Canal committee.

At 34, Watts is the youngest member of the council.

"Social media is obviously a huge deal, and it's a great tool that we could utilize to inform our citizens of the happenings, what's going on," Watts said.

The committee also will set social media guidelines and usage policies.

Although the city has its website,, and public access Channel 5 with which to share information, a Facebook page would allow for even greater communication, he said.

"It's instantaneous and people will be alerted immediately."

Watts hopes to launch the page by Jan. 1. He also wants to learn more about Twitter before creating a city account, he said.

The other committee was created to explore annexing and leasing the Hennepin from the feeder to Route 40.

"We think that would be a good thing to do," Mayor David Blanton said. "I think it's a good asset for our community, lot of people are out there, lot of things to be done with it."

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