Macomb downtown revitalization plan enters design phase - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Macomb downtown revitalization plan enters design phase

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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) - A plan years in the works to revamp downtown Macomb is another step closer to happening. City officials unveiled tentative design plans to revitalize the downtown district.

It's no secret when you're driving on the Macomb square, it's extremely cramped.  There's blind spots and the streets are falling apart.  Those are just a few of the safety issues Macomb Mayor Mike Inman hopes the new revitalization plan will fix.

Inman hopes the city's roughly $4.1 million makeover can change that.
   
"Safety is one of the primary factors driving this project," Inman said. "It's our time so to speak to make a significant improvement and enhance our downtown. It's the core of our community, it's always been, and it likely will be for a long long time."

Inman says the newly approved design would completely resurface streets and widen the sidewalks from 14 ft. to 16 ft.
   
John Nelson, the owner of Nelson's Clothing, is on board with those plans.

"It's going to be less congested, less conducive to accidents, from backing up and everything because there will be more space between cars," Nelson said.

The project would also mean the downtown area would lose 70 parking spots, something Inman says was hard to avoid.

"Because of new IDOT and ADA requirements for handicap accessibility width and depth of parking spaces, we would have lost a number of those parking spots even if we hadn't done anymore than repave the existing surface," Inman said.

To make up for the lost spaces, Inman says plans are in the works to enhance other parking lots adjacent to the square.

Either way, business owners like Nelson are just happy to see some new life being brought to Macomb's downtown.

"Widened sidewalks will add the opportunity for outdoor cafe's, just some flexibility for some more things that you can find in other communities that haven't been done here," Nelson said.

Mayor Inman says the city has already set aside $3.5 million  for the project and will apply for an IDOT grant to cover the rest. However, if the grant doesn't go through, the project might have to be completed in phases.

Construction is expected to start in 2016.
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