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February 11, 2013

Council hears about Streetscape project award

SHELBYVILLE, IL. — City Engineer Alan Spesard presented information about the grant that was awarded recently for the downtown Shelbyville streetscape project to the City Council last Monday evening.

The $1.04 million grant covers 80 percent of the estimated cost of the project and covers the area on Route 16/Main Street from Washington to Broadway. It will also include the loop of Washington Street around the Square across from the Courthouse.

Spesard told the Council that construction letting must begin within 12 months of receiving the award letter.

“Of course we don’t want to wait that long. We want to get moving as soon as we can,” Spesard said.

Construction bills will be paid by the state and the state will invoice the city for its share, according to Spesard.

“No funding will be expended in fiscal year 2013 because it ends April 30. I expect our share will be $50,000 in fiscal year 2014 and $210,000 in 2015,” Spesard said. “I propose the funds be talken from the Business District funds.”

He said he expects the project will be completed in 2015.

“That’s a quick pace for this type of project,” Spesard said.

“We should be in pretty good shape for the balances. We may have to watch our expenditures from time to time, “ said Commissioner Jeff Johnson.

Spesard added that there will be inconveniences to business and the public while the work is going on. There will be limited parking on the street because of equipment and businesses may have to alter their entrances for the public.

“We will try to minimize the disruption in front of the businesses. It’s a complex project because of the location, but after it’s complete we will have a better downtown forever,” Spesard said.

He suggested TIF monies be used to help businesses during the construction time to improve their rear entrances and handicap accessibility. Signage will also need to be erected to direct parking to municipal lots.

The State Department of Transportation will be overseeing the work because it is along a state highway. There will be studies done for the lighting and intersection modifications.

Spesard added that the work will also correct the vault problem under the sidewalks.

“It will be well worth it when it is done,” Johnson said.

Spesard commended the Shelbyville Works! and the Downtown Works group for their work in getting the grant. He also thanked State Representative Adam Brown and U.S. Representative John Shimkus for their support on the project.

Work for the mini-park had been previously approved by the City Council and bid letting will be done in March. Work in the mini-park includes concrete, drainage, shelter, landscaping and seating.

Commissioner Brent Fogleman asked the council to be given guidelines in using TIF money for businesses who request help for their rear entrances when the  construction begins.

Downtown Works committee member Bruce Steinke also asked the council to approach businesses about taking advantage of TIF money for facade work to enhance the streetscape project.

In other business the Council approved a temporary street closure for the north half of East North Ninth Street from 9:30 to 11 a.m. for the Shelby Memorial Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Walk-a-thon on September 28.

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