Sports Field To Close Alleys

WHEELING – City Council may vote this week to officially close to traffic portions of two alleys that cross the site of the future J.B. Chambers Recreational Park in East Wheeling.

The move is little more than a formality, as chain link fencing surrounding the site already prevents vehicles from entering the alleys, which run between 15th and 16th streets and Wood and McColloch streets.

Council members will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Manager Robert Herron’s third-floor conference room at the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St. Prior to the regular meeting, council’s Finance Committee will meet at 5 p.m.

The city paid Edgco Inc. of Lansing about $345,000 to raze about two dozen houses to make way for the recreational area, including three acquired via eminent domain. To date, about $1.2 million has been spent on the project.

Mayor Andy McKenzie has said it is his goal to fund the estimated $3 million initiative entirely through private donations, though he has acknowledged it could take several years to reimburse city coffers for project expenses.

Thus far, the only publicly announced contribution is a $750,000 donation from the J.B. Chambers Foundation, which earned the organization the naming rights for the sports field.

McKenzie said the city has received additional commitments, but he did not identify from whom or in what amounts. He said he intends to announce them at a later date, but declined to provide a timetable for such an announcement. The mayor referred questions concerning when the city intends to put the construction of the field itself out for bid to Herron, who could not be reached for comment.

In other business, council will also hear first reading of legislation to spend $55,885 to purchase wireless water meter readers and accessory equipment from Metron-Farnier of Boulder, Colo. Public Works Director Rusty Jebbia said this is an expansion of a pilot program to install meters that water department workers can read remotely from the street. If council passes the ordinance, Jebbia said about 500 meters would be purchased for customers in the Clearview area.

In May, council voted to buy about 200 of the wireless meters and install them in the neighborhood surrounding Wheeling Park High School.