The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Highway 34 Coalition Holds Annual Event At West Central

The West Central school's elementary cafeteria was the place to be last Thursday evening as the Highway 34 Coalition held its annual hog roast and legislative event.

The catered dinner began at 5:30 p.m. with the opening comments being delivered by Master of Ceremonies Steve Staebell at 6:00 p.m.

Kurt McChesney, Chairman of the Highway 34 Coalition, welcomed the guests and legislators.

Speaking for the Illinois Department of Transportation was Tom Lacey who provided an update of Highway 34 construction and repair projects.

The total cost to make this remaining 2-lane stretch of Highway 34 into a 4-lane highway is estimated to be upwards to $345 million.

Lacey outlined for the group plans for immediate improvements as well as the need to stay the course with supporting the existing plans for the highway.

Legislative leaders Rich Myers and Don Moffitt also spoke to the concerned citizens about the financial condition of the State of Illinois and the growing concern among legislators that something must be done to give a higher priority to funding capital projects in Illinois.

West Central High School students Justin Allaman and Jackie Collins spoke on behalf of the school's 34VOICES group that advocates for improvements to Highway 34.

They outlined their group activities to this time as well as their continued commitment to seeing the project through to completion of a 4-lane road between Burlington and Monmouth.

Other speakers at the event were Charles Bell from the Tri-State Summit organization to the south of Henderson County. Bell echoed their group's support for the efforts of the Highway 34 Coalition. Salvador Garza, working for the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity reminded everyone of the work done so far as well as the wide economic benefits that better highways would bring not only to Henderson County but also to the region of western Illinois.

Tom Doran concluded the evening with the 50/50 drawing which was won by West Central Superintendent Ralph Grimm who promptly returned the prize to the Coalition committee.