[May 24, 2014]LINCOLN - On Monday evening
Patrick Doolin, Darren Forgy, David Lanterman and Bob Neal of the
Downtown Revitalization Steering Committee offered an update to the
Lincoln City council. The group now has everything in order so they
may begin the revitalization of one block of Pulaski Street on the
The group is also ready to start one demolition project, removing
the dangerous and unsightly abandoned building located at 217 S.
Doolin spoke for the group and began by discussing the demolition
project. The building to be demolished is located next door to the
former Alexander Lumber Company. It is attached to a network of
buildings on the north side and an empty lot to the south.
Doolin said the group is taking bids for the demolition of the
building and expect to award a bidder in the first week of June.
He was asked what the plan was for the vacant lot. The building
actually still belongs to Mark Gates. The committee has gone through
the fast track demolition process with the city in order to take it
down. In that process, the city has the right to demolish the
building, then they may place a lien on it for the cost of the
demolition. But, the building does not belong to the city.
Doolin said the demolition project would include cleaning up the
lot, and nothing more. There are no future plans for the location
because the city doesn’t own it, nor does it anticipate owning it in
the near future.
Moving on to the work to be done on Pulaski Street, Doolin said bids
had been received for the project. The bids came in higher than the
committee had hoped for, so there will be a few changes to the scope
The initial plan included new sidewalk and curb, outsets at the
intersections, decorative lighting, and other ornamental components.
The work was to be done on the full block of Pulaski, plus around
the corners and to the south on Kickapoo and McLean Streets for a
short distance. There was also a recommendation to do the corners
only on the west side of the street at Kickapoo and Pulaski and the
east side of the street at McLean and Pulaski. This would give the
south side of the intersections a finished look.
In December of last year, the committee presented the plan they
wanted approved and discussed the dollars that would be needed to
complete it. The committee has $302,000 left in the original
revitalization grant from the Illinois Department of Economic
The group had estimated in December a total cost of $587,000 for the
project, with the grant covering $302,000 and the city covering the
balance. The city approved that recommendation with plans to utilize
dollars from the Utility Tax to cover their share of the cost.
However, at that time, they stipulated that if the bids came in
higher, the committee would have to determine what portions of the
plan to delete in order to stay within their budget.
There were two bids for the project, which have been opened and
reviewed. Both bids came in higher than estimated, but the lower bid
was that of Illinois Civil Contractors, Inc. of East Peoria.
Doolin said because the bids came in too high and there was a
stipulation with the city, there are portions of the work that need
to be taken out.
To keep the project within budget, Doolin said the city would
remove the existing trees instead of the contractor. Work to be
done on the west side of the old Oasis on South Kickapoo, and
the curb extensions on the east side of McLean at the church
will be eliminated as well.
There will also be a need to postpone the decorative lighting in
the project. Doolin said the lighting would be stubbed in, but
there would be no posts or lights installed at this time.
He explained to the council that with these cuts, the project
can be done within budget. He said what he needed from the
council was an approval of the changes and the authority to
execute a change of order with the contractor. He explained that
if the city does the change of order, the project will not have
to be re-bid and work can begin in the very near future.
He said moving forward as quickly as possible would be necessary
if the project is to be at least substantially completed before
the Art and Balloon Festival.
As part of the discussion after Doolin’s presentation, the topic
came up as to who was going to maintain the decorative aspects
of the street after they were completed.
Mayor Keith Snyder said that as is the case with the planters
around the square now, the city will count on volunteers such as
the Lincoln Rotary and From the Ground Up groups to help keep
things looking nice.
In regard to street cleaning, it was also mentioned that street
superintendent Walt Landers has already been talking with street
departments in other communities about how they clean and offer
snow removal on streets with curb extensions. It was noted that
he’s learning what he needs to know now so the city will be
prepared once the project is complete.
When the vote was taken, the council agreed unanimously to allow
the committee to move forward per their new recommendations.
The final comments came from Scott Cooper who said he’s seen
this same type of work in Decatur. He noted that having seen
both the ‘before’ and ‘after’, he was impressed, and looking
forward to seeing the same thing in Lincoln.