Route 66 in the News

Route 66 Bikeway Project May Lure Stimulus Money

2009-07-21 19:50:56

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - A Route 66 bikeway from west Bloomington to Shirley took a step closer to reality Tuesday when the McLean County Board approved an engineering contract for the project.

The board hired Hanson Professional Services, Springfield, for just under $170,000 to get the project "shovel ready" with the hopes of attracting federal stimulus money for the $1.75 million project, said County Highway Engineer Eric Schmitt.

Schmitt said the stimulus has funds for such enhancements as bicycle trails. The roughly 3-mile stretch would only be done if the federal dollars became available, he said. The federal money would cover 80 percent of the cost and McLean County, Bloomington, Normal and other towns along the route would share the 20 percent cost according to population.

If the federal money comes through, construction could start in the spring and be finished by next summer, he said.

County Board member Don Cavallini said private financing was made available for a portion of the bikeway around Lexington, and board member Stan Hoselton said Chenoa received $300,000 for a portion near that community.

"If it's extended, it would be quite an additional asset to McLean County," Cavallini said.

County Board member George Wendt voted against spending the money for the engineering work, citing the tough economic times. He also said the project likely would need additional money for upkeep and patrols.

But board member Paul Segobiano said the county was obligated to honor a 1999 intergovernmental agreement for the project. Schmitt said the plan calls for the bikeway to eventually go from Livingston to Logan counties.

While member Bette Rackauskas said she understood the economic concerns, it's for that reason the county should provide free entertainment for its citizens.

Wendt questioned how many citizens would actually use the trail and suggested some citizens would have "to pony up for other citizens' activities."

~Mary Ann Ford, Pantagraph.com

 

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