NEWS

Intersection, sidewalk project moves ahead

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record
One of Missman Inc.'s concept drawings of how a downtown will look after a Downtown Streetscape Enhancement Program is completed.

The Aledo City Council's Public Property, Streets & Sidewalk Committee Monday (Jan. 11) took up the Intersection & Sidewalk Reconstruction Project. A portion of the $950,000 Downtown Streetscape Enhancement Program, the project at College Avenue and Main Street was on the Jan. 4 City Council agenda. By a 4-3 vote, it was sent back to the committee.

The Downtown Streetscape Enhancement Program is included in the City of Aledo Five Year Capital Improvement Program, which began in fiscal year 2014. The program began with the North College/NE 2nd Street Intersection reconstruction project of 2014, and the North College/NW 2nd Street Intersection reconstruction project of 2015.

Items to be addressed are to improve the aesthetic quality of downtown, to improve functionality, increase pedestrian safety, to comply with ADA standards and to remedy the deteriorating condition of the infrastructure.

The resolution the full council considered Jan. 4 was an amount not to exceed $85,000 for design and planning services by Missman Inc.

Alderman Jay Doherty, who pushed for the matter to come back to the committee, said he was never against the plan. He said he wanted the additional time "so I could get some feel and some feedback from the community. I purposefully sought people out and everyone says that's way too much money."

Doherty said once it was explained the project was to attempt to optimize areas of downtown before the impending sunset of the tax increment financing (TIF) district, almost everyone was in favor of it.

"To me it's very important to utilize the funds now," agreed Mayor Chris Hagloch. "This is a large part of the project."

Alderman Terry Bewley said the people he spoke with are also in favor of the work.

"We've got to do it and be done with it," Bewley said.

A few concerns remained.

"How tight are we getting this project done between Rhubarb Fest and Antique Days," asked Alderman Ila Bertrand.

"It will be tight," Missman engineer Kirk Nelson said. "We can stage it such that we require them to do the intersection first."

"We have no control over the weather, so I guess I'm trying to figure out how tight it will be," Alderman Tom Watkins said.

Committee members were in agreement that with the TIF getting into its final years, it is important to take care of a big project such as this. The TIF here will expire in about five years. TIFs last a maximum of 23 years in Illinois.

The concept phase of the project will be back before the council Jan. 19. The council will not meet Jan. 18 because of Martin Luther King Day.