Mt. Sterling officials want public input on Main Street plans - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Mt. Sterling officials want public input on Main Street plans

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Main Street in Mt. Sterling, Illinois Main Street in Mt. Sterling, Illinois

Crumbling sidewalks and sewer lines are a big concern in Mt. Sterling. Now, city leaders are trying to do something about it.

City officials said the sidewalks are costing them money. They've caused several falls in recent years, and the city has been picking up the bill. But that's just a smaller part of a bigger issue that lies beneath these sidewalks.

When it rains, it pours in Mt. Sterling.

"It's running down the sides of the street," City Administrator Vada Yingling said. "It's running down underneath buildings. It has caused quite an issue and still is."

Yingling said the problem is the city's outdated storm drainage system. Storm water ends up eroding parts of the already old downtown buildings, and the city is ready to do something about it.

"If we don't do something now, our city will fade away and we will have nothing," Yingling added.

Yingling said they are preparing to apply for a state grant which would provide 80% of the funding for the project, which costs $2-million. The project would also beautify the town.  The hope is that the changes will attract more business.

"With every new business, we have potential new jobs," Yingling said. "Any new jobs are also just going to just put more money into the economy and keep our city growing and viable."

But not everyone is on board. Re-doing the side walk would mean adding several feet so they are handicap accessible. Inez McNeff, owner of Inez Beauty Bar, said that takes away space for her customers, who are mainly elderly, to get out of their cars along the busy street.

"This is Highway 24, so there's lots of traffic," McNeff said. "I don't know how they're going to do it. We go out and help them in now. We help them in. We help them out."

But other businesses say the project would only help attract customers.

"I think it will benefit the community," Hagel 1891 manager Leighann Buss said. "Also I think it will drive traffic to Hagel and all the other area businesses here."

Yingling said they will be applying for the grant in October and if approved, construction would start next spring. There is a public viewing of the plans on Thursday, June 15th from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the police training facility in Mt. Sterling.
 

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