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MATTOON -- City Council members gave their support Tuesday evening to having the Ride Illinois nonprofit organization help develop a bicycle route study for Mattoon.

Council member Rick Hall made this request for support. Hall said bike trail expansions are being discussed as part of the Mattoon in Motion community planning effort, so participants in this effort contacted Ride Illinois for information about developing a bicycle route study.

Hall said Ride Illinois, of Aurora, will use traffic studies and other data to develop a plan that recommends key routes for bicycle trails through town and bike lanes between neighborhoods. He said they will develop this study with input from a local bike committee and a public meeting.

A community foundation has offered to pay for the $13,000 cost of the study, Hall said. The city can pursue the ideas within this plan overtime by applying for federal and nonprofit organization grant funding, he said.

"The study is designed to be a study you can implement in steps if you want to," Hall said. He added that Ride Illinois also developed a study for Charleston.

Mayor Tim Gover said the study would tie in with the city strategic plan's goals of developing bike routes. Gover also noted that Amtrak is setting aside for more space for bicycles on its trains that travel through Mattoon.

In other matters, the council approved a preliminary bond ordinance as part of the city's application for an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan. The loan is for constructing sewer lines that will connect to the new satellite sewer treatment facility on North Sixth Street. This IEPA mandated facility is designed to prevent untreated sanitary sewer water from overflowing into Riley Creek during rainfalls.

The final bond ordinance and loan agreement are set to be presented later this year at the same council meeting as the contractor's bid for the construction work. The city plans to issue bonds for this sewer line project, estimated to cost up to $12.5 million. The IEPA is slated to purchase the bonds to fund the construction. The city plans pay back the IEPA over time with sewer system revenue.

Other actions taken by the council included:

-- Rejecting the low bid for upgrading the water treatment plant's supervisory controls and data acquisition system. The council then awarded this project to the next lowest bidder, Durkin Equipment for $224,000. R.E. Pedrotti had the low bid of $206,261, but the city disqualified this contractor for reportedly not completing two previous Mattoon projects on time.

-- Approving a water adjustment in the amount of $2,014 for Suite Dreams Hospitality due to a water leak.

-- Giving notice to the Illinois Department of Transportation that the Fourth of July, Bagelfest, Veterans Day and Christmas parades will once again cross U.S. Route 45/North 19th Street.

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