Help Us Stop Olympian Drive Expansion
Our idyllic pastoral setting could be destroyed if the local governments of Urbana, Champaign and Champaign County, along with developers have their way. They are lobbying both the state and federal governments to give them close to $30 million dollars to fund a road to nowhere. The extension of Olympian Drive eastward from its current location near Market Street will cut a swath through prime farmland within a 100 yards of our farm. They have already received a $5 million grant from the "Illinois Jobs Now" program to develop an engineering design for the road, hire a public relations firm to "engage the public" in discussions about the road and begin land acquisition.
March 2011: While we managed to stave off the full project of connecting Olympian Drive to Highway 45 (east of Lincoln Avenue), we tried to convince the Champaign County Board that the best way to connect N. Lincoln Avenue with Olympian to have it track as westerly as possible, thereby minimizing loss of farmland and residential land. This strategy did not prevail.
The current plan is to extend Olympian Drive eastward over the railroad tracks to dead-end at North Lincoln Ave. This would put the road within 200 yards south of our driveway. The County Board approved a separate project to reconfigure North Lincoln Avenue to connect up with Lincoln Avenue with a series of curves. Lincoln Avenue won't be "improved" until at least two years after Olympian Drive would be completed (probably started in 2013 and finished in 2014 or 2015), leaving trucks nowhere to go once they cross the bridge heading eastward.
August 2011: We continue to make citizens aware that this road is NOT needed, and would a HUGE waste of taxpayer funds.
March 2012: Our group of residents is contesting the use of Illinois Commerce Commission funds for Railroad Crossing Safety to construct the $9-12 million bridge to nowhere. We are also speaking out against the proposal to put a roundabout at the intersection of Olympian Drive and North Lincoln Avenue. Here is an excerpt from a letter we have submitted to the Champaign County Board:
"Initially our response to the Olympian extension was personal and professional: it would change the character of our rural area and destroy precious farmland. On further review, we realized that there are large tracts of industrial land already served with roads and utilities in north Champaign, suitable for the same kind of development as proposed on North Lincoln by the city of Urbana. Until the land west of the railroad tracks is developed, an expensive railroad bridge extending a rural road with almost no traffic makes no sense.
All of these concerns beg the question: If Urbana and Champaign acted as one municipality instead of two, would this road extension even be discussed? The pointless (and expensive) economic competition between these two cities creates massive inefficiencies and misallocation of resources. We feel that the entire Olympian project, including the roundabout, exemplifies these problems, and should be tabled indefinitely."
What can you do to help? Tell our local politicians as well our Senators Durbin and Kirk to NOT fund this project. For more up to date information, please visit the "Stop Olympian Drive" Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Olympian-Drive-Group/362486134343)