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Village Vision News

Village to pursue bike path IDOT grant

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On the agenda at the May 2 board meeting was an item regarding possibly connecting the Oakland Avenue-Hickory Point Bike Path.

This would involve connecting existing paths – one is a sidewalk on Oakland Avenue and the other a multi-use path on West Hickory Point Road – by creating a new path that cuts across the northeast corner of the intersection. That proposed new path connector cuts through undeveloped land that is owned by the Decatur Park District.

Village Engineer Matt Foster told trustees about a grant program through the Illinois Department of Transportation. The Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, or ITEP, is a grant program designed to “promote and develop alternative transportation options, including bike and pedestrian travel, along with streetscape beautification.”

To be eligible, according to Foster, projects must be related to surface transportation. And, the Oakland Avenue-Hickory Point Bike Path project is part of the village’s current capital improvement plan, making it suitable for consideration on a couple of levels.

“The enhancement grant program is a good program, very competitive,” Foster told trustees. “It is in a different channel somehow and not part of the current budget stalemate.”

Because the proposed project uses Decatur Park District property, it would require an easement, Foster said.

“Likely the park district would grant the easement to the village for a bike path,” Foster said. “We’d have to work that out.”

When this project was discussed four or five years ago, the cost was projected to be $658,000. Foster said he figured that price tag would likely have gone up by now. He also said that a full grant would pay for 80 percent of construction costs, design fees and construction observation fees.

“If you get the grant, it would be another two to three years before construction, due to permitting with the state process,” Foster said.

He added that the grant application cycle runs from May 2 to June 17. The pool of money available to communities is $29 million, Foster said, with a cap of $2 million per project.

Trustee Kerstin Trachtenberg wanted to know the cost for applying for the grant, which would also include design documents prepared by BGM Engineering.

“Not more than $3,000,” Engineer David Harp said.

Trustees Jim Peck and David Wendt both spoke in favor of the proposal.

“You could connect us (the village) with Decatur all the way to Rock Springs,” Wendt said. “I like the idea. If the grant money is there, let’s get an app in.”

Foster said it’s a good idea to have letters of support from local leaders and elected officials. He said he would bring back a resolution at the first June meeting and another one at some point from the Decatur Park District.

“It helps your odds to have both entities on board,” he said.

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