News Column

Council to consider overpass, Harmon Arts Grants

June 16, 2014

By Mary Ann Ford, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

June 16--NORMAL -- The proposed design of an overpass that will take people across the railroad tracks at Uptown Station will be among items considered Monday by the Normal City Council.

Members also will be asked to approve Harmon Arts grants to 21 groups and to amend some town codes. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of Uptown Station.

A few years ago, Amtrak and track owners Union Pacific required the town close the at-grade pedestrian crossing between the old Amtrak station and Uptown Station because of safety concerns with the future onset of high-speed rail and the likely use use of both sets of tracks.

Work on the $7 million overpass project is expected to begin this year. The project, which mirrors that of Uptown Station and includes towers on each side of the tracks, has stairs and elevators. The proposal is supported by the Uptown Design Review Commission and now needs approval from the City Council.

Public Works Director Wayne Aldrich said the design also must be approved by agencies including Amtrak, Union Pacific, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Railway Administration.

Work is expected to be completed in about 10 months. The majority of the cost will be covered by federal stimulus money. The town also received $1.25 million in grade crossing protection funds that can be used for the project. The town's share will be $114,000.

Harmon Arts grants

In other matters, the council will consider recommendations for a total of $50,000 in Harmon Arts grants.

The town received 25 applications totaling $81,747. The 21 recommended for approval and the amounts are:

Illinois Symphony Orchestra, $4,850; Illinois State University Shakespeare Festival, ISU Midwest Institute of Opera, ISU New Sounds in Uptown and McLean County Arts Center, $4,000 each; Prairie Fire Theatre, $3,500; USA Ballet, Twin Cities Ballet and Heartland Theatre Company, $3,000 each; Illinois Wesleyan University Civic Orchestra, ISU School of Theatre Saturday Drama and ISU School of Music Shake an Egg, $2,000 each; Sound of Illinois, $1,600; Prairie Pride Coalition Inc., Normal West band program and Community Players, $1,500 each; Share the Music, $1,200; Brass Band of Central Illinois and Illinois Chamber Music Festival, $1,000 each; Home Sweet Home Ministries, $700; and Illinois Theatre Consortium, $650.

The grants are designed to promote various forms of art in the community. Funding priorities include events taking place in Normal, administered by non-profit organizations, and designed to make the program more accessible to seniors, students and low-income residents.

The council also will consider several changes to town codes, including adding a lot size category for determining minimum planting requirements at developments; refining the percentage of landscaping within parking lots; and changing the depth of parking spaces accompanying developments.


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Source: Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)

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