The City of Mt. Sterling is moving into the next phase of revitalizing their downtown district.
The city’s Historic Capital Avenue will be getting new sidewalks, lighting, and street scape. The project’s cost is approximately $1.8 million. In June of last year, the city was awarded $1.3 million in ITEP grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Mt. Sterling City Manager Vada Yingling says the city is making up the difference: “We have pledged our TIF funds out of TIF2 to pay the difference. We took out a $1.5 million bond earlier this year to be able to pay in advance, and then, we’ll use our TIF funds to pay back those bonds.”
Yingling says this is a continuation of the $1.9 million project that remade Main Street almost two years ago: “The first project was 2 1/2 blocks of Main Street that saw new storm sewers ran on Main Street. There was no water mains or sanitary sewers on Main Street. Those were all in the alleys. That will be the big difference with this project on Capital Avenue. We will repave all of Capital Avenue, where we did not repave the driving lanes on Main Street because that is State Route 24 and it didn’t need it. All of the paving costs on Capital Avenue is on the city because ITEP will not pay for pavement. We’ve got a small grant to help pay for part of that in addition to the ITEP grant. We are lucky enough to have some funding from Jil Tracy and Norine Hammond, so we’ve got some of those funds to play with from DCEO money. We’re just pleased to be in a healthy financial situation to be able to pick up the rest and do it all at once.”
Members and business owners in Mt. Sterling gathered at the Brown County High School auditorium to hear a presentation on the Capital Avenue project Tuesday night. Representatives from Hutchison Engineering and the contractors for the project were on hand to answer questions. Yingling says that there will be some painful portions to the project’s timeline: “You can’t park right in front of where you want to go. You are going to have walk a little further and you’ll have to plan a little bit better where you park. It’ll just be an inconvenience, along with any time there is construction, it’s messy…it’s dirty. They’ll be walking through gravel once they take the sidewalks out. It’ll be brought into buildings. It’s just an added layer of inconvenience. There will be people that simply, if they can’t find a close parking spot, they’re not going to go into that business. I hate that for these businesses because they will probably suffer a little bit from loss of business. Hopefully it will all bounce right back after the project is completed and we are all newly renovated.”
A timeline on project was announced to be May 9th to December 15th. Yingling says if people have questions about the project, they can pay attention to the city’s Facebook page or visit mtsterling.com for more information. Yingling says she is also keeping an email list for crucial project updates. She says if anyone like to be added to the list to call Mt. Sterling City Hall at 217-773-2513.