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Area mayors to paddle the Fox River again : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Area mayors to paddle the Fox River again
Plan September outing to promote river improvements, safety at dams

by John Etheredge


A group of Fox Valley area mayors will paddle down the river again.

Last July Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq, Montgomery Village President Matt Brolley, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Yorkville Mayor Pro-Tem Chris Funkhouser boarded kayaks in downtown Aurora and paddled their way down the river to Yorkville.

The mayors agreed to participate in the trip to promote their plans to open the river through the four communities as a 13 mile uninterrupted canoe, kayaking and boating route.

This year's kayak trip has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27.

LeClercq noted that this year's kayak flotilla will be larger. He said Dale Berman, the village president of North Aurora, will join the group.

Referring to North Aurora, LeClercq said, "They asked if their mayor could join us and I said, 'The more, the merrier.'"

In addition, LeClercq said invitations will be extended to area state and federal lawmakers.

Brolley said he is hopeful the kayak trip will again help promote the recreational use of the river by all area residents while also calling attention to the need for safety at the dams in North Aurora, Aurora and Montgomery.

Brolley said he and other Montgomery officials are continuing their efforts to have the Illinois Department of Natural Resources open up a channel that adjoins the dam off Ill. Route 25 in the village for kayakers and canoeists.

The channel was built as part of the installation of the dam by the state in 1967 and was designed to provide a place where boats could bypass the dam, but was never completed.

Brolley said he and other village officials met with IDNR officials in Springfield this spring and learned the agency may be willing to pay the full cost of improving the dam and opening up the channel if an engineering study determines the project meets certain general criteria, including improved public safety and increased fish passage.

Both LeClercq and Brolley said they believe last summer's kayak trip helped to foster a positive working relationship among the mayors and their communities.

LeClercq noted that positive relationship is evident in the recent effort by Oswego and Aurora officials to secure state support and funding to improve Wolf's Crossing Road in the two communities.

"We have a ton in common," Brolley said of Montgomery and the other communities. "And there are probably significant areas we can work together."

For example, Brolley said he and LeClercq have discussed jointly seeking bids for parkway tree replacement programs in both towns in an effort to secure a lower price for the trees.

Brolley said Montgomery staff has been "kicking around the idea" of partnering with North Aurora on the purchase of a street sweeper the two communities could share.

"Any time we can do things like that and save taxpayers some money is great," Brolley said.

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