The basic concept for Macomb’s downtown revitalization plan is now in place.
The plan was unanimously approved by aldermen during their first meeting of 2014. But it will still be a while before construction begins.
“The idea would be that we do a final design and then likely let this for bid as early as possible in the Spring of 2016, considering it will take an entire construction season for us to get the bulk of this accomplished,” said Mayor Mike Inman.
He said the city council must next approve a contract with Hutchison Engineering to do the design planning. The city will also be applying for an Illinois Department of Transportation grant to help pay for the work, but it might not find out whether it receives the grant until sometime next year and that might be too late to solicit bids and do the project in 2015.
Currently four rows of parking ring the square. The revitalization project will reduce that to three. The rows nearest businesses and the courthouse will remain, while there will be just a single row of parking in the middle (where there are two rows right now).
“I would like to emphasize the fact that many of the enhancements we would have done, regardless of the removal of that one interior lane of parking, would have (resulted in) a reduction in parking anyway,” Inman said.
“ADA requirements have changed. IDOT requirements for length and width of parking spaces in general have changed. So the minute we would have done anything with the paved surface of the square those new guidelines would have come into play and we would have lost a number of parking spots regardless of what we would have chosen to do.”
The mayor said the new concept will improve visibility and safety for pedestrians and drivers. He said it will also make it easier for emergency vehicles to make their way through the square.
And he hoped the improved downtown will attract visitors and business development.
“We believe the square is important. We’re investing taxpayer dollars in that and we’re encouraging the private sector to do that as well.”