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Council approves Charleston road fixes; city on track to get $1.4 million from state

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CHARLESTON — Several road projects in Charleston are a step closer to taking place, though the work itself might be some time off.

The Charleston City Council this week approved funding plans for engineering for some of the planned work, along with an agreement to cover most of the cost of another project.

Included was appropriating just more than $339,000 to pay for engineering design for upcoming improvements on Douglas Street. The work will eventually take place on the street from Hayes Avenue to Coolidge Avenue and, later, on a section of Coolidge, also.

The council's vote on Tuesday approved the funding from the Rebuild Illinois program. The city is expected to receive $1.4 million from the program over the next three years, Mayor Brandon Combs said.

The work on Douglas Street will include resurfacing and widening the street along with improvements to curbs, gutters, driveways and storm sewers.

Asked about the plans earlier Tuesday, Douglas Street resident Tony West said he'd especially welcome the plans to resurface and widen it. Currently, the street is essentially only a single lane in some locations and motorists "tend to go at a decent clip" along the street, he said.

West also said he had concerns about how widening the street might reduce residential lawn space but "a more defined two-way street" would be an improvement.

City Public Works Director Curt Buescher said the council's action Tuesday was on engineering and other preliminary matters, so it could be some time before any construction takes place.

The council's other votes Tuesday included appropriating another $45,000 from the Rebuild Illinois program for a planned street called Community Drive. It will be located on city-owned property near Sister City Park and will connect Illinois Route 130 with Nursery Road.

Another allocation from the state program routed $65,000 for engineering for planned improvements at the intersection of Ninth Street and Lincoln Avenue.

The council also approved an agreement for federal funding for upcoming resurfacing work on University Drive, Monroe Avenue and North 14th Street.

The federal allocation will cover almost $200,000 of the cost of the nearly $250,000 project.

The work will be on University Drive from Lincoln to Hayes avenues, on Monroe Avenue from Davis to Fourth streets and on North 14th Street from Olive Avenue to the city limits.

The council also approved an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice for a $125,000 police hiring grant, and also approved the addition of another sergeant's position to the police department's administration.

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