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Winnebago residents support allowing ATVs on village streets

Residents organize a grassroots effort to pave the way for new regulations for the roads.
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 7:42 PM CDT
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WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) - A few activists put together a petition to legalize the use of non-highway vehicles on the streets of Winnebago.

The petition was organized by Rick Yates and a few others. The proposal aims to legalize the use of Side by Sides, ATVs, and golf carts on village streets. Talks to allow these vehicles in public streets began in late February and the petition was sent out for signatures from residents in late April. Village board President Frank Eubank said there is no minimum number of signatures required for a proposal to be heard by the board, just to show how many residents have shown interest.

Organizers sent out petitions to four local businesses to help gain interest from the community, including Reflections Hair Salon, which has filled up a full sheet that consists of about 20 signatures.

“I wanted to support my customers that took the time to go to the meetings to get this started,” said Hairstylist Cari Smith.

With less than a week left to get support from the community, the petition has racked up close to 100 signatures. Yates said if the board does decide to pass the petition, it would be a boost for residents and local businesses, but riders must follow the rules.

“Safety is definitely going to be number one,” said Yates. “You’ve got to make sure that your machine, whatever you are riding is legal to be on the road to the terms that the village is asking.”

Winnebago village Police Chief Jeff White says a decision should be reached with all things considered.

“I’ll enforce whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’m here for, but i think a lot of things need to be looked at. Hey i want people to go out and enjoy themselves just like anybody else, but it has to be safe,” said White.

Yates is hoping to approach the village board sometime this month to get their approval for the ordinance. Eubank said he’s not opposed to this, but needs to know the positives and negatives to decide if the board should designate a committee for this and to make an informed decision,

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