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Local

Sewage plant in Batavia, stormwater projects head the list for 2018

BATAVIA – There will be plenty of construction activity this year in Batavia, but much of it will not be readily visible to the public.

The city of Batavia will make a massive investment in infrastructure during 2018, and the work will continue for several more years.

The biggest project is the ongoing, multiyear, $70 million expansion and upgrade of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, located on the west bank of the Fox River and tucked just out of sight south of the downtown.

In 2018 alone, the city will spend nearly $16 million on the work, which is designed to increase the plant’s capacity for the growing community, and – at the same time – bring the city into compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards for discharge into the river.

Meanwhile, the city is pressing ahead with plans for stormwater projects designed to rectify neighborhood flooding problems.

“Our engineering department has a very challenging year,” City Administrator Laura Newman said.

The priority project in 2018, Newman said, will be the three-year effort to separate the stormwater and sewage lines on the city’s near southwest side.

A June 15, 2015, storm produced flooding throughout the city, but especially hard hit was a neighborhood centered on Blaine Street, where both stormwater and sewage run through the same pipes. Residents had raw sewage back up into their basements.

The engineering department also will make plans for a five-year project to increase stormwater drainage capacity in neighborhoods in the First Ward on the southeast side of the city.

The city is issuing $5 million in bonds to accelerate the pace of the two storm-sewer projects, Newman said.

Another necessary but out-of-sight infrastructure project for this year will be the replacement of a 30-year-old electrical substation on Paramount Parkway in the city’s industrial park east of Kirk Road, Newman said.

A second substation in the same area will be substantially reconstructed in 2019, Newman said. The work for the substations is budgeted at $3.6 million.

Batavia saw the opening of many new businesses in the past year, and more are on the way in 2018, including Sierra Trading Post, an outdoor outfitter, in the former Circuit City space at Fabyan Parkway and Randall Road, and the Burrito Parrilla Mexicana restaurant in the former White Castle building farther south on Randall Road.

“I think we are in a growth spurt of development, where projects are begetting projects,” Newman said.

And that includes all types of residential development.

The 80-unit Windmill Manor apartment complex is nearing completion and will open this year. The three-story building, located on Hawks Drive just west of the Walmart, provides affordable housing for senior citizens.

Work will get underway this year on six, single-family homes on West Wilson Street near Randall Road, on a site previously occupied by a city water tower.

And a developer’s proposal for 60, age-restricted luxury duplex units on South Raddant Road already is moving through the city’s approval process, with construction expected to get started later this year.

Of course, the two elephants in the room are the One Washington Place downtown redevelopment project and the affordable housing proposal for the Campana building.

Changes to the downtown, mixed-use plan were approved after Mayor Jeff Schielke broke a tie vote on the Batavia City Council, keeping the controversial Shodeen project alive, and possibly in position for a spring groundbreaking, if further alterations to the redevelopment agreement can be made.

Less certain is the fate of the Campana project, which lacks sufficient support on the council for approval. A vote is scheduled in February.

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