The Interstate 80 Geneseo exit is the “doorstep to the community.” Yet, it’s an entrance point that doesn’t always look its best.

The Interstate 80 Geneseo exit is the “doorstep to the community.” Yet, it’s an entrance point that doesn’t always look its best.

“It’s crying out for something to be done,” said Klint Rice, public service superintendent for?Geneseo.

He recently applied to the Illinois Department of Transportation for permission to maintain the Geneseo exit cloverleaf area. IDOT officials recently granted that permission.

“We feel its necessary to beautify the area,” said Rice. “We’ll be mowing, spraying weeds and keeping trash picked up.”

Rice said he hopes city crews will mow the area once or twice a month, as compared to state crews, which only mowed the exit grass twice in 2009.

“We’ll mow the parts we feel comfortable mowing,” said Rice. “For instance, I don’t think we’ll be mowing the steep hillsides, and we won’t mow the area in the middle of the interestate lanes.”

Geneseo crews will wear safety vests and all equipment will be marked with slow moving vehicle triangles while working near the Interstate, said Rice.

The area will still be mowed by IDOT crews as they pass through the area in any mowing sweeps they conduct this summer.

Ultimately, Rice said he’d like to plant trees in the cloverleaf area and just improve aesthetics in general.

According to the agreement with IDOT, Geneseo crews can make improvements to the area, but if
IDOT needs access or to modify the area, any beautification efforts will be removed without compensation to the city.

“We’ll just have to be real careful where we decide to plant the trees,” said Rice.

Geneseo isn’t the first community given permission to maintain its exit. Crews in other area towns, such as Princeton, maintain their exits. Princeton has installed four large American flags at its exit.

“This is just an area we want to clean up for the community and have it look nice,” said Rice.
At the March 9 Geneseo city council meeting, aldermen:

• Approved a $846,375 bid from Centennial Contractors Inc. for Phases IV and V of the city’s Country Manor project. Originally, the city planned to do Phase IV in 2010 and Phase V in 2011. However, spreading the projects out over two years would cost more than $900,000, said city engineer Greg Ryckaert. “There’s substantial savings in doing it all at once,” he said.

• Granted special permission to Lee’s Lanes in Geneseo to start selling alcohol at 9 a.m. on Sundays during its 2010 State Men’s Moose Bowling Tournament. On Sundays, the city ordinance typically only allows alcohol to be sold from noon to midnight.

• Approved a request from?Hammond-Henry Hospital officials to extend a conditional use permit and allow demolition of a portion of the existing hospital structure and make two additions to the current building.

 • Learned special IDOT signs honoring the Geneseo High School football team’s 2009 second-place state finish will be installed.