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One Voice Seeks Funds For 4 McLean County Projects

Connect Transit buses
The McLean County One Voice delegation is seeking additional federal funds for a proposed Connect Transit transfer center in downtown Bloomington.

Economic developers in McLean County have created a wish list of four projects to seek federal funding.

The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council's One Voice delegation is requesting funding for a Connect Transit transfer center in downtown Bloomington, a pedestrian underpass at Uptown Station in Normal, marketing for Route 66 and a small business incubator.

The bus transfer center received $3 million from the federal government for the project last year, but Connect Transit General Manager Isaac Thorne said the project will cost between $10 million to $14 million. He said the company is in the midst of launching environmental studies on four possible locations.

The Town of Normal has tried unsuccessfully to get funding for the underpass project in the past, but EDC Vice President of Marketing and Communications Zach Dietmeier said he believes the town has a better shot this year.

“They learned a whole lot of information at the (U.S.) Department of Transportation last year that’s going to help them to push forward with grant seeking this season,” Dietmeier said.

Normal Mayor Chris Koos has said that project won’t happen without substantial state or federal funding.

Dietmeier said the incubator would complement ongoing economic development efforts in the community, including the Small Business Development Center at Illinois Wesleyan University.

“They all work together in their own right and at the center of that is an incubator that allows small businesses to operate and to grow at an early state,” Dietmeier said.

The One Voice delegation will make its annual trip to Washington D.C. March 5-7.

The group has secured $33.5 million in funding for McLean County projects in the 12 years since it was formed. It landed $7.6 million last year, including money for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) scholarships and funding for the bus transfer center.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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