Mayor Ezard discusses ITEP grant for East State Reconstruction project

By Gary Scott on May 8, 2018 at 12:36pm

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard is sharing his excitement regarding the Historic East State Street Reconstruction project that’s receiving funds from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, or ITEP.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced 54 projects across the state yesterday that will receive funding through ITEP, a federally-funded program through the Illinois Department of Transportation. Among those 54 projects is a reconstruction project focused on East State Street from the downtown square to Clay Street. The project has a total cost of $1.03 million dollars, of which ITEP is funding over $800-thousand dollars of.

In terms of the construction project and where it comes from, Mayor Ezard discusses how the city landed the grant money.

“It’s quite a competitive process when you receive a grant like this, and my hat goes off to Hutchison Engineering and lead engineer Jim Burke, and Roger Smith, and our lead consultant Jeff Trecelli for establishing relationships with the state of Illinois. I feel that IDOT officials saw a lot of merit to going ahead with phase four on this project. We’re extremely thrilled that we received this once again, and it really shows that our city council thinks forward as far as moving ahead, and they saw the revitalization of this area as a need, and it will not only help our city and our region, but it’ll also kind of blend in to what MacMurray College’s initiatives are,” says Ezard.

Ezard explains that the East State Street project ties into some of the other revitalization efforts that have taken place near downtown.

“The work on this project will be very similar to the rest of the downtown square, the South Main and North Main , and yes, we hope to have an arch. The plans are 90 percent complete. We’ll have a public informational meeting this summer to finish those completions of the plan, but again, the work will include lighting, decorative sidewalks, new curb and gutter and a new roadway. It’ll be great to finish phase four and then you know you have to look ahead but, once this gets done in a couple years, we’ll probably go out for more funding eventually and finish West State,” says Ezard.

Ezard also goes over all of the funding for the project, and where the city plans to come up with their share of the cost.

“The total estimated construction cost of this project is just a little over a million dollars, which the ITEP grant is for 80 percent of that. So the city’s match is somewhere a little over $200,000 and more than likely we’re going to use some of our Motor Fuel Tax money or some capital improvement money or maybe even a combination of both, and historically, we may even use some TIF money. We’ll figure that out as the summer goes, but I look for the project to be let in the winter time, and then construction to start in 2019 if everything goes right,” Ezard explains.

According to Mayor Ezard, receiving this grant had a lot to do with the work of the engineers at Hutchison Engineering, as well as various city council members. He says it will be at least a year or longer until local residents notice any change taking place on East State.