Jacksonville Mayor Says State Grant to Improve Water Main Line Will Keep Water Sewer Rates Down

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 20, 2020 at 10:02am

The City of Jacksonville will soon receive a boost from the state on certain infrastructure improvements.

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced $39.5 million in new grants awarded for 27 capital development projects to support continued economic development across the state.

The grants are being released through an allocation of $24.8 million from the Fast-Track Public Infrastructure Capital program, and with a $14.7 million allocation for projects located in Opportunity Zones.

The City of Jacksonville has been awarded $815,200 for water main improvements. Mayor Andy Ezard says the grant will be used for much needed improvements to the supply line that feeds water from the Illinois River, to the Jacksonville water treatment plant.

It’s a giant step towards a new project to construct a new pressure surge suppression system at our well field near Naples. It’s the first step in protecting our 23 miles of transition main which has been in service since 1955. So this $815,200.00 just really goes a long way toward that project.

I know people won’t really see this project happen because it’s not in town, but it doe create close to thirty construction jobs, and even thought they don’t see this project happening, every month on their water bill they will see it because we can keep the water rate down by getting grants through the state, and that helps curb our water bills each month.

So it’s something they may not visibly see the construction process but they can be assured that it will help their water bill monthly.”

Ezard says now that the new water treatment plant is ensuring safe water quality and distribution into the system, continued care of the infrastructure that feeds that raw water to the plant can’t be taken for granted.

When you have an aging pipeline like we have a lot of things can happen on the front end that affect the rest of the line into Jacksonville, and this is helping on the front end. We anticipate this project will be complete by the middle of next summer, but like I said this is a great and giant first step on looking at the rest of the pipe.

We’ve done some things over the years in some areas of concern where the pipes lay. We have done some remediation on property throughout those 23 miles but this project has been on our radar for a while and we are really happy to have received this Jacksonville Fast Track Public Infrastructure Grant.”

The Fast-Track Public Infrastructure Grants program was launched earlier this year intended to accelerate work on planned public infrastructure projects, levering $25 million of existing Rebuild Illinois funds for local infrastructure projects that are shovel ready.

Ezard says the city is very appreciative of the grant, and the project it will help fund

We want to thank the Governor’s Office and his staff, and our friends from DCEO for awarding the City of Jacksonville this grant. It’s not just a city grant, it’s a regional grant because our system serves about 25,000 residents of Morgan County including various communities, the industry, the institutions, the colleges and the hospitals in our entire region.”

DCEO officials say the Fast-Track grants are dedicated toward local government infrastructure projects, in recognition that COVID-19 has caused a demonstrable impact to local governments and their ability to finance these projects.

Fast Track was opened up to local governments, with funding made available only for use on construction and development of public assets and municipal works projects.

To be eligible for Fast-Track, applicants were required to prove projects could meet shovel ready criteria, and that construction could commence within 90 days of receive state notice of the award.