As we start this week of the Thanksgiving holiday, among the things many of us will (hopefully) be thankful for is the opportunity to gather with family and friends and share a meal and some fellowship, remembering the hospitality of the natives of this land who not only feasted with the Plymouth colony settlers but taught them some of the ways to prosper in that new land. Historically, we have not always, as a nation, repaid them in kind. Hopefully, we continue to try and improve on that. And just as tensions grew out of that relationship, our Turkey Day meals can sometimes be fraught with tensions amidst the celebration, whether over politics (avoid it!), the day’s gridiron contests, or a preference for whole-berry or jellied cranberry sauce.
One thing we can likely agree to be thankful for is our ability in this area to get “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house” or wherever our travels take us. Will County is a hub of transportation and industry as a part of the crossroads of the nation that is the Chicagoland area, so our board and surrounding municipalities take very seriously their charge to keep up the roadways and facilities that ensure smooth operations for our citizens and businesses. There are currently several large projects in the area underway or in the last stages of planning to facilitate that management and movement.
In concerted bipartisanship (see – there’s hope for peace at the big meal after all), Will County Executive Larry Walsh and members of the board under the leadership of Speaker Jim Moustis laid out and have begun to implement changes in county management through the construction of the Will County Public Safety Complex, set to open in December. It will house the Sheriff’s Office, county emergency dispatchers, and emergency administration staff.
The completion of the Safety Complex sets the stage for a new Will County Judicial Complex, further enhancing safety through a new home for the county courts and associated services. The facility will not only accommodate needed changes due to the growth – actual and projected future – of the county since the current building was erected almost 50 years ago, but its design will help facilitate a better flow of processing through the complex, by carefully structuring the arrangement of the courtrooms and attached areas and utilizing the latest in process and software design. The completion of this next step will then allow for a new Will County Health Department, currently under planning.
The county has been successful in utilizing local contractors to accomplish a majority of the work, returning county dollars back to county residents and employers.
One major project needed to keep those routes open is the expansion of the I-55 interchange at Weber Road. Plans have been drawn up, and Will County and the affected municipalities have set aside funds for their responsibilities; they’re just waiting for the state to give the final go ahead and the remainder of the funding for its portion of the $70 million project. Hopefully, with the budget in place and legislators looking to build on recent successes, it can become a reality soon.