The idea of a downtown revitalization project first came to
light in August of 2010 when the city of Lincoln and Main Street
Lincoln co-hosted an open house to début a streetscape plan for the
heart of the city.
After the open house, the discussions on the
plan and available grant funding moved into the regular meeting of
the city council committee of the whole.
Lisa Kramer of Prairie Engineers was present, and it was
discussed that she would apply for grants on behalf of the city to
help fund improvement projects.
At that time there were two grants available, a Community
Development Assistance Program grant from the Illinois Department of
Commerce and Economic Opportunity and another from the Illinois
Department of Transportation.
The CDAP grant was designated as funds to develop a plan, while
the other was for implementation. The CDAP grant was for $675,000
and the IDOT grant for $1,875,000.
The city did not win the IDOT grant, but in January of this year
the council learned that the city had been awarded the $675,000 CDAP
With the award in hand, a steering committee was created to work
with Kramer in developing a plan for what the city would like to do
to revitalize the downtown area.
The committee consists of Barbara Blackburn, Doolin, Goodman,
Lanterman, Bob Neal, Alderwoman Marty Neitzel and Snyder.
On Tuesday evening, Lanterman spoke on behalf of the group,
saying first that the steering committee appreciated the city asking
them to be a part of this important process.
He explained that the funds expended for planning would total
$775,000, with $675,000 being the grant and the city providing
$100,000 in matching funds.
Of the total dollars, $336,000 will be spent on creating the
design or plan for the downtown revitalization.
He said the city would be asked to approve entering into a
contract with Prairie Engineers for this amount. Lanterman said
other firms would be involved in the planning process, but they
would be hired by and paid by Prairie Engineers.
The firms that will be involved in the planning process are:
Lisa Kramer, P.E., Darren Forgy, P.E., PLS, Matthew Miller,
PLS, E.I., Prairie Engineers of Illinois, P.C., Lincoln,
Urban plannerIan Colgan, AICP, Development Concepts Inc., Indianapolis,
Traffic engineerKurt Bialobreski, P.E., PTOE, Hanson Professional Services
Keddy Hudson, AIA, Kennedy Hudson and Associates, Monticello
Kent Massie, PLA, ASLA, Sue Massie, APA, Massie Massie &
Frank Taylor, CP (ASPRS), Continental Mapping Consultants
Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.
Ryan Nation, P.E., Hanson Professional Services Inc.,
Cory Jobe, Preservation and Economic Development
Lanterman said the balance of the dollars will be used for some
implementation projects, but those have not yet been identified and
defined. He said the committee will return to the council at a later
date with more information on those.
The committee provided a 20-page progress and recommendation
report to the council.
Included in that report was a chart outlining how Prairie
Engineers would spend their $336,000. The chart indicated 10 percent
would be spent on a downtown redevelopment plan, 16 percent on a
downtown revitalization plan, 6 percent would be for façade
improvements and historic preservation, 5 percent would go to a
downtown traffic and parking study, and 1 percent would go to
Prairies Engineers as the grant managers.
Lanterman pointed out that in addition to all that, 5 percent was
designated for the two downtown parks, Scully and Latham, as well as
the courthouse square. He said that even though these are county
properties, the committee had felt it would not be wise to leave
them out, because they are a vital part of the downtown area.
He also indicated the committee will provide information to the
Logan County Board and speak with them on plans for the county-owned
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During discussion, Alderman David Wilmert said first he was
pleased to see that the administrative fees on the chart were a very
small sliver of the total dollars represented. He wondered, though,
about the large amount designated for planning and asked if the
amount were not top-heavy. He noted that it didn't appear to leave
very much for actual implementation of the plan.
Lanterman explained that the purpose of this particular grant is
for plan development. He said grants to develop a plan don't come
along nearly as often as grants to implement a plan.
He said the committee had considered they wanted a long-range
plan for the city --something that would stretch out over the length
of five to 10 years.
Doolin also spoke up, saying that at this point, having a plan is
the most important part of the process. He pointed out the city has
lost implementation grants in the past because they had no plan.
Wilmert then asked, in light of this information, if the $336,000
was enough to develop the long-term plan.
Lanterman said the committee felt that it was.
Alderwoman Kathy Horn also spoke, saying she wanted to thank the
group for coming to the council. She noted that in times past,
things have gone on that the council knew nothing about, so she was
pleased at the amount of information the committee had provided
Lanterman said the steering committee has maintained a goal of
keeping the public informed about the projects and their progress.
He said the document the council had in front of them included
provisions for public participation.
In addition, Prairie Engineers will set up a website where the
general public can view the progress of the committee throughout the
Neitzel asked if the document the committee submitted was
something that had to be put on the agenda for approval.
Snyder said it was. He said the Steering Committee Report &
Recommendations document would serve as the city's work order for
the entire project.
It was also mentioned the report would have to be submitted to
DCEO and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency for their
approval as well.
In addition, the city will need to put on the council agenda a
motion to hire Prairie Engineers as the primary consultant for the
As the discussion began to wind down, Doolin said he wanted to
remind the council that approving this report was just the first
step of several. He said, "We want you to understand this is the
beginning, not the end."
According to the DCEO grant guidelines, the committee has two
years to complete the planning project or the money will be
forfeited. This means this first step should be completed no later
than December 2013.
Later in the meeting, Snyder said the IDOT grant the city lost
out on in 2010 was once again available. He said the application the
city used then was still pretty close to accurate and would only
need a little tweaking to be ready to submit again.
He also said one of the primary reasons the city lost out on the
grant in 2010 was because they did not have a revitalization plan.
In addition to the report, the steering committee provided
aldermen with a set of frequently asked questions to use as a guide
when discussing the project with constituents.
here to view a copy of the steering committee report.
Click here to view
[By NILA SMITH]
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