Aledo studies gateway project

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Aledo City Council's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee on Aug. 24 gave a thumbs up to looking into spending an additional $10,000 on the community gateway signage project at Illinois routes 17 and 94, near Walmart.

The council previously approved spending $15,000.

Mayor Chris Hagloch pushed for additional money.

"I see a lot in different communities where they're trying to brand their community," Hagloch said. "We seem to be trending toward rhubarb."

Current plans call for a five-foot by six-foot rhubarb leaf. The city is waiting for the Illinois Department of Transportation to transfer ownership of the property.

Hagloch suggested a 10- or 12-foot rhubarb stalk at the city gateway, with the smaller leaf sculpture downtown. There also would be two signs promoting Aledo activities.

"We always go back and end up downscaling some of our projects," the mayor said.

The idea is people entering the city would want to stop and take pictures under the rhubarb stalk. The projects would be funded by TIF money. Hagloch said work could begin on the $15,000 project, with an appeal for donations to help with the larger sculpture.

"We've already received a few (donations)," he said, "and we'd probably receive more."

"They need to see some type of activity," committee Chairman Jay Doherty said. "The goal is to have it ready for next year."

Next year's Rhubarb Festival will be the 25th annual event.

"Are we building a pull-off area?" asked Alderman James Holmes.

Holmes wondered about motorists pulling off the side of the two busy highways to take pictures.

"Down the road, if it gets to be a high-traffic area, we may want to put in a kiosk and a pull-off area," Doherty said.

"If you're interested in looking at it, then we'll get the numbers," the mayor said.

Doherty polled council members. All supported the present $15,000 project and were open to at least looking at the larger proposal.