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Normal council OKs funding agreement with IDOT for underpass project


The Normal Town Council Monday night took action on several matters, including authorizing a funding agreement for the Uptown Station underpass project.

The council also awarded a bid for a water main replacement project, and approved payment to Carle Health for operation of a mobile health clinic.

As part of funding Phases I & II of the Uptown Connector project, the Illinois Department of Transportation requires any local government to enter a joint funding agreement for the use of Section 130 federal funds that are meant to eliminate hazards at railway grade crossings.

The agreement adds $1.88 million in federal funds that were not included in original project estimates. The cost covers development of a detailed construction design and formalizes part of a grant-supported funding scenario approved by the council in July 2021.

“The Federal Rail Administration notified us that they had some unallocated grant dollars, and we thought that would be reasonable for us to ask for more money in anticipation of increased project costs,” said City Manager Pam Reece.

The additional funding has not yet been adopted in the budget for the project that is estimated to cost $23.9 million, most of it coming from grant funding.

In another matter, George Gildner, Inc., offered a bid of $616,259 to replace 1,100 feet of water main on Locust Street, between Linden Street and the Constitution Trail. The project will include larger, more resilient piping and new valves and fire hydrants.

The project is expected to begin in June 2023 and finish by year’s end.

The council also approved a one-time payment of $100,000 of unallocated American Rescue Plan funds to the Carle Center for Philanthropy for the operation of a mobile health clinic.

The clinic — a 40-foot bus equipped to perform all of the functions of a traditionally stationary family practice — has made occasional visits to the area in the past, but with more funding Carle intends to build out a new vehicle.

Along with contributions from other partners, the money would go to partly fund the $700,000 mobile clinic that would make regular visits to locations in Normal, in addition to visiting sites in Bloomington and rural areas of McLean County.

“Hospitals across the country, their emergency rooms are serving as the first point of contact for a lot of people for routine health care, and that’s in incredible burden on the operating hospitals to have to do that in an emergency room situation,” said Mayor Chis Koos.

“I think this is yet another effort to get health care to the people that need it as easily as we possibly can.”

Philip Walker is a correspondent for WGLT. He joined the station in 2022.
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