City leaders received the news they hoped to hear from the state of Illinois. The state awarded Macomb a nearly $1.2 million grant to help pay for the second and final phase of the Historic Courthouse Square Revitalization project.
“It’s great! Obviously it’s something we’ve been working (on) for the last five or six years,” said Mayor Mike Inman, who called the news a boost the city needed to hear.
“We’ve had those artist renderings and we’ve used every opportunity to tell folks what our vision was. And I think we’re one step closer to making that vision happen.”
Phase Two will include:
- Rebuilding sidewalks on and near the square
- Doing streetscaping on the square
- Improving downtown lighting.
Inman said the city might consider trimming back the project a bit because it had hoped for a few hundred thousand dollars more from the state. He estimated the city might need to budget $1.5 million to $2 million of its own money over the next five years to supplement the grant. The city’s share will come from its infrastructure sales tax.
Phase Two is not scheduled to begin until 2020. The mayor said the city wants to give downtown business owners a chance to recover from Phase One, which was done last year.
“We just came off a very unsettled summer on the downtown square. We need those business owners to feel good about a couple of summers with getting some folks in and not having to worry about construction upsetting the apple cart, so to speak,” he said.
Under Phase One, the city:
- Repaved the streets around the square
- Freshly painted parking spots, crosswalks, and directional arrows
- Installed stop signs
- Built new medians
- Improved the storm sewer system
Macomb also applied for a state grant to help pay for Phase One, but the state rejected the application so the city completed the nearly $1.5 million project with its own money.
The state this week awarded grants for 54 projects around Illinois, including another one in western Illinois. Mount Sterling will receive $1.5 million for its Main Street Reconstruction project.