Yorkville seeks grant for downtown lighting
By Steve Lord email@example.com May 25, 2012 4:28PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:40AM
YORKVILLE — The city does not need another expense in its budget, but aldermen agree it does need lighting downtown.
So the City Council last week unanimously agreed to have city staff apply for an Integrated Transportation Enhancement Program grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The grant would cover additional lights and other amenities, such as planters, in the downtown area.
The lights are needed because, in an effort to save money, the city removed some of the lighting in the Route 47 widening project through downtown.
Aldermen did so with the intention they would put lighting downtown some day. When IDOT does the project, it will rough in conduit and wiring for lights.
The cost of the total lighting and amenities, from Somonauk Street to Route 126, would be about $932,700. The city’s share of that would be $289,575, but some of that cost is eligible to paid for by the tax increment financing district downtown. That would leave the city with a cost of $103,855.
City Administrator Bart Olson said the grant process may take up to 2½ years, so it would be a while before the city has to talk about finding the money for its share.
Still, it was enough to prompt Alderman George Gilson to say, “It’s a lot of money for someone who’s headed into some rocky times.”
Gilson said he was “torn” about the grant.
“I agree with the lighting,” he said. “We need to get that done. But I don’t like all the extras.”
Alderman Larry Kot called street lighting downtown “a high priority item.”
“At some point, we need to put some lights up,” he said.
Alderman Carlo Colosimo, 1st Ward, said the city has to have good lighting downtown because of new businesses going, business the city is trying to attract, and the new whitewater rapids facility in Riverfront Park.
“If we’re going to do it, I’d rather have some state assistance than do it all ourselves,” he said.
Aldermen still could decide to take the enhancements out of the grant request, but Olson pointed out that since enhancements are what the grant program is for, it would make the proposal weaker to eliminate them.