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Underpass funding agreement and mobile health clinic go before Normal council

Farr Associates/Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council on Monday will consider a joint funding agreement for the Uptown underpass project.

The agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation covers development of a detailed construction design and formalizes part of a grant-supported funding scenario approved by the council in July 2021.

“This funding agreement for $4.88 million represents a $1.88 million increase from the originally proposed $3 million,” town staff wrote in documents prepared for the council meeting. “Although we are not formally amending the project budget at this time, we have been mindful of inflationary increases in construction projects and appreciate IDOT’s increased allocation of Section 130 funds toward the underpass project.”

The town said it will continue to explore other funding opportunities to offset potential cost increases.

The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at Uptown Station.

The town expects phase two design of the underpass to be mostly done and submitted for review by the end of September. Final plans and estimates could come by the end of January 2023; construction could be nearly complete by December 2024.

Total cost of the project is estimated at $23.9 million, most of it coming from grant funding.

Previously, the council embraced the arguments the underpass will improve safety and economic redevelopment prospects in the area, and address needs for new greenspace and gathering places for residents.

Also at the meeting, the council will decide whether to approve a bid for more than 1,100 feet of water main replacement along Locust Street, from Linden to Constitution Trail, and along Harris Street, from Main Street to University Avenue. Staff said those 4-inch cast iron mains are some of the oldest in town and are substandard. The low bidder on the project is George Gildner, Inc. at $616,259 — 17% below engineering estimates.

And, council members will vote on whether to give Carle BroMenn Medical Center $100,000 in American Rescue Plan pandemic recovery money. Along with contributions from other partners, the money would go to partly fund a $700,000 mobile health clinic that would begin operations by the first quarter of next year.

Carle would commit to making regular visits to locations in Normal, in addition to visiting sites in Bloomington and rural areas of McLean County.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.