Streator council bids for grant to add sidewalks near Kimes School

Safe Routes to School program would reimburse 80% of $300,000 project

Streator will try again for funding to install sidewalks connecting Kimes School with Main Street.

About $240,000 of the $300,000 project would be reimbursed through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program if the city were to be awarded the grant. The City Council agreed Wednesday to pay for the project if it was selected.

The Safe Routes to School program is created to invest in sidewalks, paths and other safety measures for children who either walk or bike to school each day.

City Engineer Jeremy Palm said sidewalks would be installed on the north side of Reading Street across from Kimes School from Columbus Road to Clark Street, the north side of Riverside Avenue from Columbus Road to Second Avenue, the north side of Sundown Street from Columbus Road to Fourth Avenue, portions of West Bridge Street and on the south side of Carroll Street from Columbus Road to Second Avenue.

Another sidewalk would be installed from Clark Street, creating a pedestrian path from Kimes School to West Main Street.

The Riverside neighborhood has few streets with sidewalks. Portions of Bridge Street, Fifth, Fourth, Third and Second avenues have sidewalks.

Palm said the city was unsuccessful in 2018 in an attempt to obtain funding.

“Every time this grant comes available, we try to apply,” Palm told the City Council on Tuesday.

City buys parking lot

The City Council voted, 4-1, on Wednesday to buy a parking lot at 118 S. Sterling St., adjacent to the former Illinois American Water office building. Council member Matt McMullen was the lone no vote, saying the city will need to invest in resurfacing the lot and noting the city could find better alternatives.

The parking lot will add 10 to 20 public spaces to the city’s downtown in a block that includes a fitness center, auto repair shop and tavern.

Council memberTara Bedei said she received a call from a resident who was in favor of the city making the purchase.

The price to the city is $6,000 and a donor to the Streator Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry is pitching in another $6,000. The property was owned by the Harm Family Partnership LLC, which is headed by the children of former council member Bruce Hart.

Derek Barichello

Derek Barichello

Derek is a Streator High and University of Illinois graduate. He worked at the Albany-Herald in Albany, Ga., and for Sauk Valley Media in Sterling, before returning to his hometown paper. He's now news editor for both the NewsTribune and The Times.