Highway honor for late police chief

Ann Gill

A portion of Illinois Route 113 has been named in honor of Coal City’s late police chief Dennis M. Neary.

A ceremony to recognize the designation will take place next month.

A resolution, approved last year in the Illinois Senate, establishes the portion of Route 113 [Division Street] from Carbon Hill Road east to Virginia Street as the Dennis M. Neary Memorial Highway.

Signs making this section of the roadway were installed last week by the Illinois Department of Transportation [IDOT].

Coal City Police Chief Chris Harseim shared the news that the signs were installed located on the east at Virginia Street and on the west near the campus of Coal City High School.

“I couldn’t be more happy that they are there,” the chief said, noting the Neary family is also pleased to the markers lining the roadway.

The designation recognizes Neary who dedicated his professional and personal life to the health and safety of the community. He served 36 years as a law enforcement officer, 30 of those years as the town’s police chief. Neary also served his community as a member of the Coal City Fire Protection District as a firefighter and emergency medical technician, retiring his post there as captain.

Neary died Oct. 2, 2016 following a battle with advanced stage lung cancer. He was 66.

The highway designation resulted from an effort by State Senator Sue Rezin to honor the former chief.

A ceremony recognizing the designation of the Dennis M. Neary Memorial Highway is set to be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Campbell Memorial Park.