Plans for improvements to West Main Street downtown will move forward now that the Belleville City Council approved on Monday $334,428 for engineering and design work.
The $2.6 million project includes new streetscape, similar to existing downtown streetscape, from Sixth Street to 17th Street and sewer separation that includes routing storm water to Richland Creek.
Aldermen voted to approve an agreement with Kaskaskia Engineering for the following work:
* $128,810 for preliminary engineering services paid from fiscal year 2014-15.
* $121,998 for design services from 2015-16.
* $83,620 for combined sewer separation design services from 2014-15.
The money would be paid from Tax Increment Financing District 3.
Of the $2.6 million total, the streetscape construction part of the project is estimated to cost about $1.6 million and the sewer separation construction is estimated to cost $983,060.
A $1 million grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program will help pay for construction for the streetscape part of the project. The city will pay the remainder, or $530,760.
The engineering and design part of the project is expected to be completed in about 1.5 years, excluding delays beyond the control of the engineering company.
City Engineer Tim Gregowicz said construction will start after the engineering report and design work is approved.
Gregowicz said the beautification work will be similar to what exists in the core of downtown but the work will more closely resemble what is planned for the North Illinois streetscape project.
Improvements include new curbs, black street lamps, widening of sidewalks, resurfacing of streets and modifications to allow outdoor seating.
Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden said the improvements will beautify the west part of Main Street and help businesses, but the work also is necessary to address issues residents face with flooding and backups during heavy rain.
Ward 2 Alderwoman Janet Schmidt, whose ward also is affected, said residents are supportive of this project.
Mayor Mark Eckert said he cannot promise that the planned improvements alone will solve all the health and safety problems but the work will help the situation.
"We're on the right track," Eckert said. "It'll take a number of years but we'll get there."
Also on Monday:
* After emerging from executive session to discuss property acquisition, the council voted to authorize the mayor to sign a $235,000 contract to buy office space as part of plans to move the Police Department to a new location, 720 W. Main St., and renovate City Hall, at 101 S. Illinois St.
City leaders did not disclose the address of the office space but said more information will be available Wednesday once the purchase is completed.
* The council approved Preservation Research Office as the consultant for the city to complete a National Register Historic District review and expansion project.
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency will pay for 70 percent of the project, which costs $20,000. The city will get $14,000 back.