Liberty Twp. Administrators make I-75 exchange a top priority for 2022
FREEDOM TWP. – Preparing the township for a future Interstate 75 interchange at Millikin Road is a top priority for directors in 2022.
The proposed budget for 2022 Liberty Township includes $ 45,000 for a zoning consultant for the interchange and surrounding land along the intersecting roads.
This is part of the proposed overall budget of $ 29.3 million, which includes $ 18.9 million for day-to-day operations.
“We have not yet defined the scope of the work,” said Caroline McKinney, director of economic development and spokesperson for the township.
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That will only come after the Federal Highway Administration gives its approval for the interchange, expected in the first quarter of next year, McKinney said.
“This is the starting point for starting to write zoning bylaws according to the overall plan,” McKinney explained.
The consultant would assist the township with proper zoning, planning and development for the area surrounding the interchange with input from residents, landowners and the business community.
Trustees Steve Schramm and Tom Farrell would like this person or company to do even more.
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“The problem we have right now is that the majority of this land is agricultural. Do we move (zoning on the property) to commercial use or do we stay as is and follow the vision plan, changing as needed? Schramm said.
“We may have to work in a different way than before. I would love to see a senior planner – someone who has done it before and can guide us. “
In developing this, Farrell said he would like to see someone focus entirely on the Millikin Road interchange – which is expected to cost $ 27.1 million to $ 33.8 million, depending on which of the four proposed configurations is approved.
The consultant, Farrell said, would look at all aspects of the project: the zoning, the road design, the surrounding roads that cross Millikin and should be improved, and how that would be paid for.
“There are a lot of moving parts. We want to make sure that Millikin (exchange) gets built, ”Farrell said.
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“Can we do this faster, cheaper and better by adding a consultant who does nothing all day, every day, but look at this?” Our staff are qualified but they have a canton to manage.
Farrell said now is the time to explore the construction dollars that may be available through the infrastructure bill recently approved by President Joe Biden.
He called the interchange project, including surrounding roads, a “necessity” for the next generation to foster responsible growth and ease the tax burden on residents.
“We all agree that Millikin needs to be built. We need to invest in the future of Liberty, ” Farrell said.
“We need to build it as efficiently as possible and at the lowest cost to taxpayers. “
The final budget will be ready for the directors vote next month.