Yorkville was awarded a state grant of $491,720 for decorative street lighting and aesthetic streetscapes on Route 47, but when construction begins is unknown.
The grant is a portion of $50 million in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Project funding announced this week by Gov. Pat Quinn. ITEP provides federal funding for community based projects that “expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of our transportation infrastructure,” according to the press release.
The Yorkville streetscape project has a price tag of approximately $900,000, according to an email from City Administrator Bart Olson. To receive the grant money the city would be required to put up matching funds of about $390,000, of which $80,000 would come from TIF funds. Olson said the remaining funds would have to “be sourced from elsewhere in the budget.”
The three-year $45 million widening of Route 47 by the Illinois Department of Transportation does not include streetlights, with the exception of those at intersections. The installation of conduit and bases for additional street and pedestrian lighting is a part of the Route 47 project. The city is responsible for purchase and installation of this lighting. The city submitted the grant application for the streetscape improvements in May 2012.
The last ITEP grant the city received, which was for a project on Kennedy Road, took over one year between the time the grant was sent from the state and the city accepted. Because of the time frame, Olson said city officials have some time to figure out where funds can be found and if the city wished to accept the grant. Should the city turn down the grant, Olson said there is a penalty of a two-year prohibition from applying for ITEP grants.
Olson said the project could take several years before construction begins. If the city accepts the grant, the street lamps and landscaping would be erected between Somonauk Street and Route 126.
In the press release announcing the grants, Quinn said the “projects will create hundreds of jobs while preserving our heritage, beautifying communities and creating new transportation options across our state for pedestrians, bicyclists, and others.
For the current round of funding, the Illinois Department of Transportation received 328 applications requesting ITEP federal funding totaling nearly $327 million. Beginning this year, IDOT will move this program to be awarded annually instead of every two years.