Engineering firms have until January 17 to make their case for getting involved with Macomb’s downtown revitalization project.
The city is soliciting “Request for Qualifications” from consultants. Community Development Director Ed Basch told aldermen the city prefers to hire a firm with experience in downstate Illinois.
“We say that because if we get a firm that’s done all of their work in Cook and DuPage and Will Counties, for instance, we don’t rule them out but they probably will not be able to understand our particular downtown and our situation as well as someone who’s worked in downstate communities or in rural counties with a courthouse focus such as we have,” Basch said.
Basch considered the hiring of a consultant to be a key step. He said it will lay the groundwork for what follows.
“This (the downtown revitalization) is not just a simple, quick fix. We are serious about comprehensive revitalization efforts,” Basch said.
The city council voted seven-to-two in favor of seeking a consultant. Third Ward Alderman Lou Gilbert voted against it.
“I don’t know how many different feasibility studies have been made on that since I’ve been in Macomb but I know there’s at least five,” said Gilbert.
“We need to figure out what we really want to do and get on it.”
Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett was also opposed. He said the city should come up with more ideas in-house before hiring an engineering firm.