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Local

Dateline Dixon: Streetscape ahead of schedule, Kuhn says

Final strategic planning focus groups sessions to be held Monday

DIXON – Closed roads and construction crews have become the norm in downtown Dixon as the streetscape project reaches its sixth week.

In April, the City Council awarded a contract for the streetscape work to Fischer Excavating Inc. of Freeport for nearly $5.8 million. A portion of that will be paid for by KSB Hospital for work on a parking lot off Ottawa Avenue.

Work started in late May, with the closing of portions of First Street, Peoria Avenue and Third Street. Since then, some additional roads and sections of those streets have been closed, but Jeff Kuhn, commissioner of streets and public improvements, said the work is ahead of schedule.

“It’s starting to come together. I’m pleased. Fischer is pleased,” he said, adding that he liked the way the sidewalks were beginning to look.

The streetscape project also is expected to add 50 trees. The downtown trees were a topic of discussion before the project began, and even in a letter to the editor that ran in the recent SV Weekend edition.

Some residents have criticized what they saw as too much of an emphasis on adding parking spaces at the expense of trees.

Tuesday, Kuhn said there will be more trees than before, including some that will be planted along sections of streets that didn’t have them before.

The final focus group sessions for the city’s strategic planning will be held at 3 and 6 p.m. on Monday at Loveland Community House, 513 W. Second St.

There will be two groups for each session, City Administrator David Nord said in an email.

Each session will last about 90 minutes, he said, and will be led by Sikich, the Naperville-based accounting and consulting company that’s leading the strategic planning.

The focus groups are an “opportunity for citizens to share their thoughts on the community and discuss what direction the city should be heading,” Nord said.

During the Dixon School Board meeting last week, members approved a motion to accept recommended changes to the Dixon High, Reagan Middle and Jefferson Elementary school handbooks.

Among the changes to Reagan’s handbook was a proposal to change the wording regarding eligibility for school sports and activities, changing the D+ grade average to a D- average, which would match the school’s policy.

Board member Kevin Sward was the first to raise concern about the policy, saying there should be a higher standard.

After discussion, the motion was amended to make the eligibility a D average.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini covers government and happenings in Dixon. He can be reached at mmencarini@saukvalley.com or at 815-625-3600, ext. 5529. Follow him on twitter: @MattMencarini.

SVM reporter at Books on First today

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini will have "office hours" from 1 to 2 p.m. today at Books on First, 202 W. First St.

Feel free to stop by and let him know what's on your mind. Is there a story in Dixon you think should be reported? Stop by to share or just to say hi.

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