By Chris Johnson


PECATONICA – On Monday, June 6, the Pecatonica Economic Development Committee, meeting in regular session, got the final word on a plan that will allow the Village to hopefully be able to put into motion a plan to add walking paths, courtesy of a stimulus plan, with the State of Illinois.

The ITEP (Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program) Grant, is issued through the Illinois Department of Transportation, in an attempt to help communities improve land which is currently deemed “underutilized”.

The ITEP provides funding for community-based projects, which expands travel choices and enhances the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of transportation infrastructure, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

By design, the ITEP is designed to help promote and introduce alternative transportation options, including bike and pedestrian travel, along with streetscape beautification.

As the Economic Development Committee met, the final word was issued that the Village of Pecatonica and the Pecatonica School District have signed on for the plan.

Jason Stoll, Village Engineer with Chastain and Associates, said the approval and the agreement is what was most needed as the filing deadline approaches.

“Paperwork has to be filed with the Illinois Department of Transportation. As far as expense goes, the Village will not realize any cost this year. The steps that are being taken are to assure we get the necessary paperwork down to Springfield.”

The filing deadline is Friday, June 17.

The sidewalk project will connect areas of town with a path, which will be constructed to help make pedestrian traffic, working north-to-south, safer.

Along Main Street, south of Seventh Street, pedestrians and cyclists currently must use the road or the grassy areas on the east and west sides of Main, as their primary means of accessing various locations.

The safest option currently pushes pedestrians a block east or west of Main, as they make their way through town.

The cost of the project is to be split between the Village and the Pecatonica School District, according to Stoll.

“The total cost for the Village is $99,214.18. The Resolution has to request that amount, the whole 20 percent. However that cost will be split between the Village and the School District.”

The amount the Village will need to contribute as its portion is $49,607.09.

The total cost of the project will be around $400,000, with the State of Illinois’ ITEP Grant covering 80 percent of the cost.

The step taken, which gives the Village the best chance to receive the funds, occurred as other governmental agencies signed on for the project.

The State of Illinois, according to Stoll, likes to see cooperation.

“The more it can be proven that the project is supported by a large majority of the population, the better chance the Village has to receive the funds. IDOT likes to see more people involved. It enhances the chances to receive the money.”

There is no guarantee the Village will receive the funds it has requested.

If the Illinois Department of Transportation does allow the monies to be released, the project construction could begin.

The last time the Village worked in accordance with other governmental agencies in the community, the sidewalk connecting all three schools within the Pecatonica School District was installed. However, the project took nearly three years from inception to completion.

The ITEP Review and Selection Process will occur between now and August.

In the fall of 2016 the announcement will be issued as to whether or not the construction project will be realized.



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