Highland News Leader

Highland to seek grant funding for school underpass

With an application deadline approaching, the Highland City Council on Monday approved seeking grant funding for a pedestrian underpass between the high school and middle school, two days before a public meeting to discuss the idea with the public.

The council approved a resolution authorizing staff to apply to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) grant, for the purpose of constructing a 12-foot wide by 8-foot high underpass below Troxler Avenue.

The city will hold a public informational meeting for the proposed pedestrian underpass in the Highland City Hall council chambers, 1115 Broadway, on Wednesday, June 8 from 4 to 6 p.m.

However, the deadline for the application for the grant is June 15, which is why the council had to approve the application of the grant before the informational meeting. The council’s next regular meeting is not until June 20.

In a memo to council members, City Manager Mark Latham said the pedestrian crossing was discussed at a meeting with IDOT officials.

“The future of Troxler becoming a five lane raised the concerns over the safety of the existing pedestrian crossing,” Latham said in the memo. “IDOT suggested the city apply for a grant with the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program for this project.”

Troxler Avenue is a busy thoroughfare, carrying 9,000 vehicles per day.

The idea of the underpass is to provide a safe route for students walking between the high school and middle school, as well as others who use the middle school parking lot during large events at the high school, such as football games and graduation.

“A secondary benefit is elimination of a pedestrian signal that disrupts the peak morning traffic on Troxler Avenue,” Latham said in his memo.

The estimated cost of the project is $1 million. The ITEP grant is an 80/20, with the city responsible for 20 percent. Madison County has been matching the city’s portion of federal grants. The city will seek Madison County’s support and assistance with important project, too.

Personnel from the city of Highland and their consulting engineering firm will be available to discuss the proposed project at the meeting Wednesday. The proceedings of the meeting will be informal and interested citizens may comment on the proposed design features. Written statements will be received at the time of the meeting.

Maps, drawings and other information pertinent to the location and design of the proposed improvement will be available for inspection at the informational meeting.

Other council action

Nuisance vehicle code changed

The council approved a change to the city nuisance vehicle ordinance. The new ordinance consolidates all previous rules regarding nuisance vehicles into one area in the ordinance book. Police Chief Terry Bell said the new law also better defines what constitutes a nuisance vehicle, “making it easier for our citizens to understand and comply; and easier for our officers and court officials to enforce.”

KRC to sell free weights

The council approved selling used dumbbells from the Korte Recreation Center, as a new set was recently purchased. There is a total of 2,100 pounds of weights for sale. They are 15 years old. The Parks and Recreation Department is hoping to get between $1,800 and $2,000 for the dumbbells, which weigh from 5 to 100 pounds each.

Restroom purchased for Rinderer Park

The council approved purchasing a restroom for the new Dennis Rinderer Park along Veterans Honor Parkway. The single-unit restroom is a concrete building, which will be delivered and set up on the excavated site. The council recently voted to run water to the park. However, there is no sewer available, so the restroom will sit atop a 1,000-gallon vault. The restroom will be purchased from CXT Concrete Buildings. Cost is $39,807.11.

Veterans Honor Parkway cost goes down

The council approved a change order for work done to construction Veterans Honor Parkway that deducted $91,355 from the projected total cost. The savings came from excavation and other work that ended up not being required. The deduction brought the total cost of the project to just shy of $6.48 million.

Network provider approved for smart meters

The council OK’d a network system agreement with Tantalus for the city’s new electric smart meters. The council had previously approved Tantalus as the communication network provider for the system. However, the company requires the city to enter into a contract governing the terms of use, interaction and support of the system, since the city has now exited the “pilot” phase of the project.

Computers, video purchased for police cars

The council approved purchase of three in-car computers and video systems for the police department from Data 911 Systems of Alameda, Calif., at a cost of $35,317. The purchase will complete HPD’s transition to a single computer and video platform for all its vehicles. The systems being replaced are eight to 11 years old and no longer supported. Normal bidding procedure was waived for the purchase.

City to monitor sewer flow

The council approved an agreement with ADS Environmental Services of Huntsville, Ala., to monitor three of the cities sanitary sewer trunk lines to collect data on inflow and infiltration of outside water. ADS is currently a subcontractor working with the city’s engineering consultant, CMT, cleaning, televising and compiling information on the city’s three main trunk lines.

Public Works Director Joe Gillespie said the trunk lines have shown to be in pretty good overall condition. However, the wastewater treatment plant experiences a spike in flow during heavy rains.

The contract with ADS will have the company use flow monitors over the next 60 days in order to narrow the search as to where rainwater is coming into the system.

The contract with ADS is for $34,735.

Federal money sought for two projects

The council approved local agency agreements for federal participation between the state and city for two projects, the Sharpshooters Trail and the resurfacing of Walnut Street.

For the Walnut project, the city received funding through the Search Results East-West Gateway Council of Governments five years ago. The estimated total cost of the project is $550,000. The federal grant is for $412,500, and the city is responsible for $137,500. Madison County has agreed to pay the city’s portion.

For the Sharpshooters Trail, the total estimated cost is $876,250. The federal grant, which was provided through ITEP, is for $696,000 and the city is responsible for $180,250. Madison County has agree to pay up to $220,000 for the city’s portion, and the Metro East Parks and Recreation District has agreed to pay up to $120,000.

New territory annexed into city

The council also approved a motion to annex certain territory owned by Grandview Farm. At the previous city council meeting, board members approved the agreement to annex the 28.5-acre property, and officially annexed the farm into the city during the June 6 meeting.

About the informational meeting on underpass

What will happen at the meeting? The city of Highland will hold a public informational meeting for a proposed pedestrian underpass linking the Highland High School campus with the Highland Middle School campus. Personnel from the city of Highland and their consulting engineering firm will be available to discuss the proposed project. The proceedings of the meeting will be informal and interested citizens may comment on the proposed design features. Written statements will be received at the time of the meeting.

When is it? The meeting will be held at the Highland City Hall council chambers, 1115 Broadway, on Wednesday, June 8 from 4 to 6 p.m.

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