Highland News Leader

15 major city projects address Highland’s growth, city manager says

Highland City Manager Mark Latham said 2019 will be the busiest year for Highland in a long time, with more than 15 major projects involving infrastructure, renovations and new buildings.

“These really came from a strategic meeting with the council a couple years ago to get a better picture of where they would like to see us go,” Latham said.

One of the main projects Latham said will be completed this year include upgrades and replacements to Highland’s aging water infrastructure. Crews worked throughout the winter to replace three mains including those on Broadway from Illinois 160 to Poplar Street, on Illinois 143 from U.S. 40 to Troxler Avenue, and the “White City” mains along Deal, Cedar, Beech and Monroe streets.

In total, the work on those mains cost the city and estimated. $1.8 million. The city is funding those projects through five years of annual water rate hikes of 1.5 percent.

“This town is well over 150 years old so a lot of the infrastructure needs to be replaced,” Latham said.

Another large project that will go out for bid in the next few weeks is the city’s $7 million public safety building that will give a new home to Highland’s police, EMS and firefighters. That project will take roughly a year and a half to complete, Latham said.

There are more than 15 major projects the city is in the process of executing, preparing to bid out or in the process of funding. He said it makes for a very busy 2019-2020, but added that these projects will be noticeable changes for residents.

Other projects set to be completed or started in 2019:

  • Illinois Power Association funding is in place to upgrade Highland’s Water Reclamation Plant for roughly $9 million.

  • The city is looking into replacing several aging sewer mains throughout town, two transformers

  • Connecting to a new Ameren substation that is planned to be built this year closer to the city.

  • Fixing a culvert under the railroad tracks near the crossing on Poplar Street that will take a significant amount of resident’s out of the area’s flood plain. The project is set to cost around $500,000.

  • Continuing to expand Highland Communication Services service to the rest of the area.

  • A roundabout project at St. Rose and Iberg roads that will cost roughly $1.7 million, $990 of which is being covered by federal funds.

  • Studying a need for traffic signals at Highway 40 and Troxler Avenue near the railroad.

  • A trail from the Route 160 roundabout in Highland to HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital.

  • Improving upgrades to Broadway through a streetscape and resurfacing project, set to be put out for bid late in 2019.

  • Upgrades to city council chambers to make ADA complaint, adding wheelchair areas for $46,800.

  • Projects within the Silverlake Watershed funded by the Heartland Conservancy through a more than $450,000 of grant funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

  • The second phase of the All-Abilities Playground that will cost roughly $140,000.

Latham said the amount of bigger projects show how Highland is adapting to growth in the city.

“We’ve had an uptake of building permits and the commercial side of things,” Latham said. “It’s going to be a good year.”

Latham said the projects will most likely be bid out to local businesses.

The city also is looking for ways to fund additional projects to upgrade the city.

“Hopefully, we’ll get these projects done and we’re still working on funding for some more things we’re hoping to get done,” Latham said.

Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
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