Tri States Public Radio Staff
The Gateway to WIU
Mon June 4, 2012
Macomb Ready to Roll on West Adams
The city council voted in favor of a resolution of support for seeking $1.1 million in federal grant funding for the West Adams Street revitalization project.
“This project is the gateway to Western Illinois University,” said Eric Moe of McClure Engineering. “It's often the first impression for newcomers to our community.”
He spoke during a 25 minute public hearing on the project. The renovated West Adams corridor is designed to connect the courthouse square to the WIU campus for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The project will cover the stretch of West Adams from North Lafayette Street to Charles Street.
Moe said West Adams will be narrowed from 30 feet wide to 23.5 feet. All parking would be moved to lots or side streets.
The sidewalks along West Adams would be widened from four feet to six feet on both sides of the street. Ornamental LED lighting would be installed along the sidewalks.
New curbs and gutters would be added, drainage would be improved, and a water main would be replaced.
West Adams will be widened at North Lafayette to include a right turn lane for eastbound traffic and a median to enhance the appearance of the entryway into the corridor.
Construction will cost an estimated $1.9 million. The city will pony up $295,000. City Administrator Dean Torreson said “the lion's share” of the city funding will come from revenue generated by the voter approved sales tax hike.
Alderman At Large Dennis Moon opposed that. He said the city did not include West Adams on its list of projects when it promoted the sales tax hike referendum.
“I can't support it,” said Moon before casting the only vote against the resolution of support for the federal grant. “I think it's taking money from projects that would better serve the community as a whole.”
The federal grant and the city money would not cover the entire cost of the West Adams project. The city is still reviewing options for the rest of the money. It could seek other grants.
It's not known when the city will learn whether it receives the federal grant. It also applied for the money a couple years ago but was rejected. The Western Illinois Regional Council has been working with the Illinois Transportation Department to improve the city's grant application.
As part of that, the city spent $38,600 on preliminary engineering. The WIRC said that should help Macomb's cause.