City Council Hears Meijer Might Not Open on Schedule


Published on December 5 2017 10:44 pm
Last Updated on December 5 2017 10:44 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham City Council members Tuesday heard that the Meijer store projected for Effingham might be delayed by a year or more due to an unusual reason, the environment.

City Engineer Jeremy Heuerman said efforts to accommodate the wetlands area at the site off Ford Avenue "is the main holdup of the entire project." Heuerman said the area west of Keller Drive and north of Rollin Hills Subdivision would become the new wetlands site.

On the agenda Tuesday night was a Declaration of Restrictive Covenants for Conservation on the City-owned land along Keller Drive. Heuerman said the City has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to "get this resolved." Under the scenario, Meijer would maintain the wetlands area for three years, then it would become the City's responsibility. As Heuerman reminded Council members concerning the Keller Drive area, "this is what we bought the property for."

In addition to the wetlands issue, the Council also discussed plans to widen Ford Avenue and add traffic signals at the intersection of Ford and Oak Point Street, the roadway leading into the Meijer property. Heuerman said Meijer's engineers would be responsible for designing the project and the City will be responsible for constructing the project. Upon completion, Meijer will reimburse the City for all costs associated with the project up to a maximum of $530,000. 

Heuerman said the project cost could go to $600,000, but asked Council members to "look at it as we're getting a $530,000 grant to get Meijer to come to town."

As to the delay in the project, Heuerman said the road work on Ford is now projected for completion in 2019. That would delay the start of construction on the Meijer store until 2020 with an opening in 2021.

Meanwhile, Heuerman said Meijer plans to complete the acquisition of the store site in January 2018.