City Awarded $2.5 Mil Grant Toward West State Project

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 7, 2023 at 6:00pm

The City of Jacksonville is another step closer to completing the years-long Downtown Turnaround Project.

Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that more than $127 million in funding has been awarded through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program.

More than $2.5 million has been awarded to the City of Jacksonville for the West State Street reconstruction project, the final leg of the Downtown Turnaround. Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says today’s announcement was a great early Easter present for the city.

Two point five million, actually a little over that, is for the West State Street project from the square to Church Street. This will be our fifth ITEP grant that we have received. The two-point five including the other ITEP programs that we’ve done around the square comes to about eight million dollars.

So, you know, we’ve put the work in and done it the right way and Hutchison Engineering has done a great job as far as getting things ready, and the city council always looks progressively in doing this, [Jacksonville] Main Street and everybody, so it’s definitely a team effort.”

Ezard says the plans for the project are approximately 90% complete, and with work tentatively scheduled to begin on the South Main project, the South Main bridge and West State Street should fall all right in line.

The construction of this phase will likely be next year, and that will probably tie in with the South Main Street bridge, which we could probably push back a year to kind of piggyback that onto West State Street. So there will be a lot of activity downtown. We kinda figure we will just do it all at once.

We’re really really happy. I know our match is about five hundred thousand dollars total, but if we can get the two and a half [million] and include that, I think it’s a win-win.”

Ezard says it’s been quite a run indeed to think that in a short two-year span, the final pieces of the full Downtown Turnaround project could be complete, bringing to a close an effort started more than a decade ago.

This project is very similar to all of the other phases. The streetscape, the aesthetics, the decorative lighting, the landscaping, the new curb and gutter, sidewalks and new roadway improvements, and utility upgrades. Two years from now we can look back and celebrate and say this is what we’ve done and then concentrate on the next projects. So it was great news to get right before Easter on Good Friday and it definitely makes, not only this mayor happy, it makes our community happy that we could get this grant.”

Also included in the announcement was $3 million awarded to the City of Pittsfield toward its downtown reconstruction of infrastructure on the north, east, and west sides of the square.

According to the Governor’s announcement, this year’s ITEP program is the largest ever due to the Rebuild Illinois Program. The next round of ITEP grant funding will be awarded in 2025, with the application period set to open next year.