Possibly the biggest and best news was saved for last at the Shelbyville City Council meeting this week. It wasn’t even on the agenda.

Engineer Alan Spesard was the bearer of the good news that the Streetscape Project for downtown Shelbyville, a decade in the making, was bid last week and work on the project should begin this spring.

After all the agenda items in the council meeting were worked through in quick fashion, Spesard shared the announcement. Spesard announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) received bids last week for the Streetscape project.

The lowest bid was by Kinney Construction for $1,269,880.35. The estimate for the work was $1.3 million, so the bid came in under the estimate. Spesard said the project will most likely begin this spring.

The Streetscape Project will give a face lift to a two block section of Main Street in Shelbyville from Washington Street to Broadway on both the north and south sides of the street up to the buildings.

“It’s a big project and the construction will disrupt things.” Spesard said. “We will start having public meetings about the project with business owners and others from the community that are interested.”

Spesard explained a possible scenario moving forward.

“IDOT will execute the contract to Kinney Contractors usually within two months. At that point, there will be a pre-job meeting held with the contractor, the city and IDOT. A construction schedule will be agreed upon at the meeting (including a start date),” Spesard explained.

“The city has hired Upchurch and Associates to oversee the construction on the city’s behalf. The specifications for this contract require Kinney Contractors to coordinate construction activities with the businesses impacted prior to and during construction.

“Normally construction would start in or about May 2020, but I can give a more firm date after the pre-job meeting. I would anticipate construction to be completed in the Summer of 2021.”

When the project is completed, both sides of Main Street will have the same look as the work that has been done in front of the Shelby County Courthouse.

Everything takes time being approved at the state level. It was thought, a year ago, that bids would be let last August. Almost six months later, the bidding process was done and the work can begin.

Spesard said that other grants for downtown work have been applied for. There is more work that the city wants done on the sidewalks between West and East Washington Streets that bend around on Main Street to the south of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorials. The drawing also extends from Broadway to Walnut Street, for possible future work on Main Street.

Another engineering project with encouraging news was the last item on the agenda. Approval was needed to acquire an easement along Sylvester Drive due to further expansion of IHI Turbo of America, a local employer.

Work has been done on Sylvester Drive, already, but IHI Turbo’s expansion is suppose to go through 2023 and they will need more parking. Spesard reported that they looked at the cheapest way to accommodate that.

They found that they could provide more parking with head-in parking. They are in negotiations with property owners to acquire an easement for that additional parking.

Spesard said that, at this point, they have a verbal agreement, but nothing is signed. The cost to the city would be around $15,000 per acre for .46 acres, about $7,000.

Commissioner Thom Schafer made the motion to approve the acquisition of the easement and Martha Firnhaber seconded it. The council vote was unanimous, 5-0.

In other business, Mayor Jeff Johnson moved that Alex Shanks would be appointed to the Shelbyville Library Board. The vote was 4-0 with Commissioner Mark Shanks abstaining.

Approval for purchase of a backhoe for the Water Dept. was tabled by Commissioner Debe Wright.

Approval of a bid for roof repair for the Municipal Building was requested by Commissioner Shanks. Bids were advertised and the only bid that was made was by Mid-State Construction and Roofing for $94,686.

Shanks said the work would include two layers of insulation and there is an additional issueof a parapet as part of the roof. There is a 20-year guarantee. The motion was unanimously approved. Shanks said the work will begin soon, depending the weather.

City Treasurer Kelly Pasley reported that she submitted the PARC grant application for improvements to the ball diamonds at Forest Park. She reported that the cost of the lights was increased, but boys baseball will construct their own batting cages.

Mark Shanks reported the Noel Bolinger of the Shelbyville Family Aquatic Center Committee has prepared a PARC grant for the pool, as well.

The City is having talks with the Senior Center about building usage and a Senior Center Maintenance Committee is to begin meeting.

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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