MOUNT STERLING, Ill. -- Mount Sterling's uptown revitalization project is set to move forward with the announcement that the city will receive funding through the Illinois Department of Transportation's Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program.
The city will receive $1.5 million in federal funds that pass through the state program for the $2 million storm sewer, drainage and infrastructure improvement project.
Officials with the ITEP program said Monday that it would award $36 million to 53 approved projects around the state. To be considered, applicants must match at least 20 percent of the cost of their project and plan to spend the money within four years.
"We will have an investment of between $400,000 and $500,000, and we will get three times that amount," said Vada Yingling, Mount Sterling city administrator. "Our sidewalks will all be (Americans With Disabilities Act)-compliant, and the steps going into businesses will be eliminated. We will be installing new, efficient LED lighting. We'll also be upgrading our streetscapes, if we can afford it."
Yingling said the project will be let out for bid in the fall, and she expects work to begin in spring 2019.
Anticipating the reception of the ITEP grant, the City Council approved an ordinance authorizing issuing $800,000 in general obligation bonds earlier this year. In response, a petition was circulated to put the bond issue on the November ballot. The petition was signed by 231 registered voters -- enough to place the issue on the Nov. 6 ballot.
"Issuing the bonds is the cheapest and best way to do this," Yingling said, "but we do have a Plan B."
Yingling said taxes will not be raised for the project.
"We're finishing up our final plans, and we're anxious to get started," she said. "This puts all the wheels in motion."