Bloomington To Consider $6.5 Million in Roadwork | WGLT

Bloomington To Consider $6.5 Million in Roadwork

Apr 24, 2020

Bloomington plans to spend more than $4 million on street resurfacing this summer, just part of its effort to repair some of the city's crumbling infrastructure.

The city council will consider $6.5 million in road and other infrastructure improvements when it meets Monday night.

Bloomington Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said the city is holding back $1.2 million in road work to see how the pandemic impacts the city's finances.
Credit City of Bloomington

“On a grander scale, it’s repairing streets, it’s repairing sidewalks and ramps, it’s addressing longstanding projects that needed to occur,” said Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus.

One of those projects is Lutz Road in southwest Bloomington. The city agreed to the $822,000 road project after the Luther Oaks retirement community pledged to expand its campus.

The city has identified parts of nine streets for resurfacing this year, including Clinton Boulevard, Hershey Road and Oakland Avenue. Rowe Construction of Bloomington would do the work for $4.1 million.

Tyus said the city could end up with close to $7.3 million in street repairs this year once another project goes out for bid this summer, though he added the city is holding back $1.2 in planned roadwork to see how the pandemic impacts city coffers. 

The funding also includes $1 million for sidewalk and curb replacements and extends the sidewalk repair program in which property owners seeking sidewalk repairs share half the cost.

Tyus noted a portion of the funding comes from the motor fuel tax increase the city council passed last spring to make road repairs a higher priority.

“We made some decisions last year, some tough decisions, to dedicate the resources needed for that work,” Tyus said. “Hopefully each year like this, we will show we are doing what we promised to the public and that the council asked for.”

Also Monday night, the council will consider revising its emergency ordinance to discount the video gambling fee those establishments must pay. The city is seeking to prorate the $500-per-terminal fee for as long as the businesses remain closed during the pandemic.

The council also will hear presentations from representatives of United Way of McLean County and the PATH crisis center about how social service organizations in the community are preparing to handle increased demand during the pandemic.

Patrick Hoban, president and CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, and McLean County Administrator Camille Rodriguez will address the council on their new emergency loan program for small businesses.

O’Neil Pool Timeline

If Illinois' shelter-in-place order extends well into summer, that could help Bloomington get to work on one of its key capital projects. The city plans to start design work this summer on the aging O'Neil Pool.

Bloomington plans to seek design work on a renovation or replacement of O'Neil Pool this year.
Credit Eric Stock / WGLT

Changes could include everything from minor renovations and maintenance to building a new aquatic center.

The 2021 fiscal year budget, which the city council adopted last week, sets aside $738,000 for renovations to O’Neil Park and project designs for a new aquatic center.

Tyus said if the state's shelter-in-place order goes longer into the summer, it might help the city move up its timeline.

“What if in the midst of all this, a decision had to be made that we could not open?” Tyus asked. “Does that then allow us to start to prepare for the work we are going to do there earlier?"

Tyus said it could enable work crews to get started before winter. The city hasn’t issued a request for proposals yet.

He said the pandemic hasn't changed the range of possibilities for O'Neil Pool. City officials have been considering replacing the facility for years.

City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Director Jay Tetzloff has said he sees an aquatic center as the centerpiece for a park facelift.

“A park on the west side that has been there quite a few years, it’s showing some wear and tear and it’s time for us to go in and rejuvenate part of west Bloomington," he said.

City officials have allowed for about a $5 million variance in economic impact from the coronavirus depending on how long shelter-in-place restrictions are in place.

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