City of Mt. Sterling pushing for Uptown Revitalization Project
Mt. Sterling officials are pushing hard to improve the city's storm sewer system that lays under Route 24.
"We have a storm sewer issue on Main Street and water runoff is going underneath buildings and causing issues. It's going to help water get away from the downtown area better than what it is now," says Mt. Sterling City Administrator Vada Yingling.
The city is applying for an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant to get the money to start this project.
"It's a two million dollar grant. This money is 80-20. They would pick up 80% of the costs, and the 20% would be on the city's responsibility to pick up those costs. Taxes will not be raised," explains Yingling.
The sewer system is just one part of an Uptown Revitalization Project.
Officials want to take this opportunity to make repairs to roads and sidewalks with heavy foot traffic.
City officials hope this project will fix sidewalk imperfections like old, discolored, cement patches as well as sidewalk unevenness.
But not everyone is for this project.
"I oppose it because of the cost involved to the city. The amount that we are going to have to be responsible for even if we get a grant," says Alderman of Ward 1 Michael Myers.
Myers wants to warn Mt. Sterling residents of the negatives this project could bring.
"It's going to eliminate at least 12 parking spots. It's going to eliminate four feet off of each side of the current Main Street. I have a problem with the agricultural vehicles being forced onto South Street because they can't get through with the narrowing of the street," explains Myers.
A petition is circling to stop this project.
"Getting both sides and putting it on a ballot, and let the people of the city of Mt. Sterling decide whether or not they want this project to go through," Myers recommends.
Here's what next - tonight, city officials will present their plans to the council for approval.
If approved, the next step includes taking the plans to IDOT and then turning in the grant application in October to hopefully start the project next summer.