The city hoped to pay for a multi-million dollar facelift to the courthouse square with local sales tax revenue and a state grant. But it appears the state grant program won’t be offering money for at least another year.
Alderman At Large Dennis Moon said it makes sense to wait for the grant program to re-open.
“I know there are some people that are not thrilled with this change. But I think as stewards of the tax money we’re giving ourselves an opportunity to take advantage of some state money that might be available to us,” Moon said.
The downtown project was originally scheduled to be done next year. Now it’s scheduled for 2018, though the city still plans to do a bit of work next year. It will remove the islands that divide the inner and outer rings of the square. Mayor Mike Inman said parking spots will then be striped in the same way they will be marked as part of the renovation project.
“It will give us a chance to test drive – so to speak – the layout of that redone parking configuration,” Inman said. “So when we do go for the final project we’ll have a good idea of whether that will work for us or not.”
Inman said there is also another silver lining: the city will be able to use local sales tax revenue to help pay for other street projects.
This year improvements will be made to White and McDonough Streets, and the city will do a two-block stretch of the much-anticipated Adams Street Corridor project. The city trimmed back the Adams project a bit to bring it in under budget. The work will be done on Adams from Lafayette to Johnson.
The city currently plans to make improvements to Candy Lane in 2016. A state funding program will help pay for the work. It’s a different funding source than the grant the city is seeking for the downtown and -- as per state rules -- money from that source cannot be used for the downtown project.