‘It’s their problem now’: Adams County cedes all 48th Street intersection land to City of Quincy after going in circles over roundabout

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County Engineer Jim Frankenhoff discusses turning land near 48th and State over to the City of Quincy. — Photo by J. Robert Gough

QUINCY — In the spirit of the Easter season, the Adams County Board played Pontius Pilate Wednesday night and washed its hands of the responsibility of maintaining the intersection of 48th and State.

Although it could be argued the Quincy City Council beat them to the basin. The Sanhedrin, or in 2024 terms, the courts, may have to decide.

(PUBLISHER’S NOTE: For those of you who may only attend services on Easter and/or Christmas, Easter doesn’t end after Holy Week. The Easter Season lasts 50 days through Pentecost. There’s your Sunday School/Catechism lesson for today. Look up Sanhedrin yourself. JRG)

Board members voted for a jurisdictional transfer of the land surrounding the intersection to the City by an 18-1 vote with Travis Cooley (R-District 4) casting the lone no vote. Keith Callaway (R-District 1) and Brent Fischer (R-District 7) were absent.

On April 1, the Quincy City Council voted not to contribute $2.6 million to build a roundabout at the intersection. The County Board action Wednesday night interprets the Council’s decision as failure to abide by a 1973 intergovernmental agreement signed by then-Mayor Don Nicholson calling for the transfer of the roads to the city. The agreement reads that the county would maintain the 48th Street project from Broadway to south of State until 50 percent or more of the road was within city limits. The proposed project would go along 48th Street from Broadway to 1,200 feet south of State, and along State Street from about 600 feet west of 48th Street to 200 feet east of 48th Street.

Aldermen took no action on acknowledging the 1973 document and any transfer of the land, tabling it indefinitely at that April 1 meeting, where County Board Chairman Kent Snider then suggested simply turning the land over to the City.

But in March 2022, the Quincy City Council approved a joint agreement between Quincy and Adams County that led to the purchase of land, construction and utilities needed to accommodate building the roundabout. At that time, the total cost of the project was estimated at around $4 million with the City paying 60 percent and the County paying 40 percent, with the City paying more because it was bearing all of the cost of about 600 feet of water lines west of the intersection on State Street.

The streets to the north and west of the intersection are considered “city” streets, while the streets to the east and south are in the county’s jurisdiction.

After working on the project for more than a decade, Adams County Engineer Jim Frankenhoff submitted the resolution to the Transportation, Building and Technology Committee, which supported it and sent it to the full Board.

“Each time they’ve put a hurdle in front of the highway department, and we’ve climbed over that hurdle,” Frankenhoff said, referring to the City of Quincy. “And we came to the point obviously, we’re ready to do the project, and they subsequently voted their funding down so we are fulfilling the agreement with the jurisdictional transfer.”

County Board member Ryan Hinkamper (R-District 2), who also sits on the committee that recommended the action, was more blunt as he walked out of the County Board room.

“It’s their problem now,” Hinkamper said, referring to the intersection.

In other action, the County will solicit RFP’s for engineering on a new HVAC system. Two people, Adam Booth and Todd Moore, both of whom have previous HVAC design and build experience, suggested to the Transportation, Building and Technology Committee to consider other options than the one recommended to the County Board last week.

Finance Committee Chairman Bret Austin (R-District 1) gave the County Board some financing options for replacing the system, which could have a price tag of $9 million. Those options included a straight loan or selling bonds, with possibly using county reserves as a down payment.

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