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By Cynthia Haggitt
Improvements and expansion are always important when a city like Jerseyville is growing. The City Council discussed the updates on the capital improvement plan.
According to Director of Public Works for the City of Jerseyville, Bob Manns, he has been putting in a lot of hard work. The goal was to inform the public tonight of what they’re looking at doing over the next five to 20 years.
“We have a lot of good things happening. It’s kind of a transformation going on in the city. So it’s really exciting to be a part of for all of us that work here. A lot of good projects have been coming and basically what we’re saying is we know the plan,” Manns said. “What we put on paper here today is void by tomorrow, however the goal of what we’re all trying to do is set in motion a plan, working towards the same goal.”
Manns mentioned that the big dilemma the city faces is that there are aging infrastructures around Jereseyville.
“We know we have aging buildings, a fleet of vehicles and the city is trying to turn the corner and become more proactive on fixing things. We have seen drainage, roadways, buildings, some of our equipment fleet here are near completion. So we’re all aware of the city park and walk. Electrical upgrades, safety upgrades, and Easterly Shepherdson lots in the city centre project have seen work too.” Manns said
He mentioned that there has been a lot of good feedback on that that basically transformed the entire piece of the city. The Pleasant Street drainage phase one, to report has been completed.
“We have some equipment at City Park that we’re working on. We’re trying to touch every region of town and spread some of the work we’re doing around all the geographical reach into town,” Manns said.
“Out of West County Road and Maple Summit, we have the Sandy Creek Drain Space and we’re actively working right now and taking care of those large drainage channels and, of course, the centre, and we have significant grants and we are waiting for the state to turn it loose for use,” Man said.
“We do have a million dollar federal grant. We have some rebuilding Illinois money through IDOT, we’re actively still trying to get that on the summer 2022 construction time frame. That’ll depend upon right away acquisition things. That would be a wonderful improvement to haul Avenue, Lions Club Park.”
“We’re going to look at a complete transformation over the next period of years (city hall has plans for viewing) the first phase we’re looking at is the National Fitness Court. We’ve already started the demoing structures and showing how we are doing things. We’ll be doing some of that work ourselves and we’ll be constructing that between now and early spring,” Manns said.
The city is planning, by next year, to have sand volleyball, pickleball, and is planning to transform the basketball court.
“Pleasant Street, with this we will call Phase two, again, Mayor Russell’s able to capture some additional money through a Senate initiative, and we still have the over a year now $700,000 grant pending. So we’re very hopeful to receive that and we’ll need to make some decisions about wrapping up from that project,” Manns said.
“As far as vehicles, we’ve taken a lot of time to talk at the commissioner level and definitely with the staff to see what the needs are and Jeff and I have discussed this, too,” Manns said. “We need to set aside funds in his first year or two years out of the gate and take care of some of these longstanding needs and kind of get us caught up to where we will be with our vehicle, and then we feel that would be much more manageable.”
In the long term, Manns said the city is getting on with the annual replacement program. These have been talked about, and they’re prioritized in terms of the wish list with departments heads and himself.
“If the Council approves some type of budgetary amount, we’d be able to work accordingly to figure out what areas the city needs to fix. Shelters, for example, their roofing may need to be replaced and, next year, the Donor pool liner will need to be upgraded there. So we’re trying to set money aside for that project,” Manns said. “We have been working actively with the Illinois Department of Transportation in order to enhance the safety of the Rotary Park. It just seems to be busy in the last two years, which is a great thing to see. We’re gonna do some high visibility crosswalk improvements too.”
The city has finished phase one projects for the region, and they are attempting to move forward as soon as it’s approved. The West Side Redevelopment has had a lot of interest.
“We are looking for more ways to improve things with parking lots and the sidewalks and transforming that space as well,” Manns said. “City Hall has a lot of needs with the building envelope and insulation and things. Once we figure out what is needed we will look at the exterior of the building.”
“We have started discussions about a new entrance off State Street. We own that lot, and we’re looking at it by redeveloping that space as well for a public park. The public library, as we all know, has their grant and hands to redo their space, North Moor Park needs some improvements. They’re long term with additional parking and with that basketball court rehab and the concept of the dog park we talked about. So, it seems to be a popular request as we talk with different people,” Manns stated. “City park and Walk lake has had the safety aspect under control and the next logical phase is to get led lights and capture some energy efficiency improvements. So we’re working with a local contractor to work on this project. The last project is the American Gateway Project.”
It was explained to the council that it’s not an overwhelming list, but just the reality of the community. They are trying to come up with plans to address this listing. The city is trying to look for outside funding, private development and grant money. They are working hard to do that.
“A lot of these things start with a plan. It’s the credit of the council. Like Sandy Creek as an example, we have a master plan there that sits on the shelf, we’ll be able to go after funding when it’s available,” Manns said.