Public and privately financed construction projects will change and improve the look of downtown Macomb.
The big private project is the renovation of the five-story Lamoine Hotel building. Developer Chris Trotter plans to convert the second through fifth floors into assisted living apartments.
City Administrator Dean Torreson said, “I have a lot of hope that project will turn out very well for the community and the downtown. It’s the largest building in the downtown and it’s an important one. I have confidence Mr. Trotter will – with the city’s help – turn that into a productive building once again.”
Torreson said it “helps tremendously” to have people living in the downtown.
A block northof the Lamoine, the parking lot is being rebuilt at the train depot. Torreson said it will have new concrete with curb and gutter. He thinks the project will improve the look of the depot.
Torreson is looking forward to cleaning up the site at Route 67 and the railroad tracks, which is right across the highway from the train depot and is at the main intersection in town. He said the historic old service station building will likely remain but everything else will be removed. A final plan for the site has not been approved. One possibility is to have a welcome center there to provide the Convention and Visitors Bureau with a higher profile location.
“The Convention and Visitors Bureau right now is down in the museum building about three blocks south of there. It’s just not very visible.”
Torreson said the nearby alley will be paved and a bike path will be built. He said the site will tie the West Adams Street corridor project into the downtown.
“We look at the Adams Street project as being a link from the downtown to the university. When you mention downtown improvements, that (the Adams Street project) needs to be considered along with those that are actually in the downtown.”
The city’s downtown revitalization project for the courthouse square is scheduled to begin in Spring 2016. Torreson said it should be completed before the end of that year. He thinks improvements from the private sector will continue for years afterward.
Work is also underway to build an addition to the Macomb Public Library that will double the facility's size. The section that housed the children’s library on the north side of the building has been torn down.
Macomb’s Library Director Dennis Danowski says an addition will be built in its place and attached to the original 1904 Carnegie library keeping with the same architecture and feel.
“We’re going to add two stories," Danowski said. "The first floor will be the children’s library. The second flood will be where we will have all of our books. Where the collection is going to be housed and it will have a computer lab.”
State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said during the announcement of state funding for the addition to the Macomb Public Library, that the improvements around town are a sign of growth
“The sign a community is moving forward and their not stagnant is when you look around and you see development and construction and things being built," Sullivan said.