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MATTOON -- The City Council is scheduled tonight to consider hiring an environmental consultant firm to help prepare for paving and extending the Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail.

Public Works Director Dean Barber has recommended accepting the $30,547 bid of Huff & Huff of Oak Brook to conduct field sampling and testing of potentially contaminated soils for the preliminary site assessment for the bike trail project.

The trail runs on former railroad right of way between Mattoon and Charleston. The two cities plan to fund the project with the help of grant monies. The soil sampling and testing of this former railroad land is required as part of the environmental review process for projects using federal funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Barber said the soil sampling and testing will be needed wherever construction work will disturb the soil. He said in preparation for paving the gravel portion of the trail between Mattoon and Charleston, sampling will need to be done at crossroad intersections where the paved trail's surface will be thicker.

In addition, Barber said soil sampling also will need to be done for extending the currently paved section of the trail west from 10th Street to 16th Street at the Mattoon Area Family YMCA.

Barber said Mattoon will pay approximately $26,000 for its share of the soil sampling because the extension in Mattoon will involve more construction work, whereas Charleston will pay approximately $5,000 for its share. He said the paving is scheduled to occur next year, and the extension work is set to start next year and be completed in 2020.

In other matters, the council will consider employing Kedrick H. Houser as a replacement probationary patrol officer for the Mattoon Police Department effective Dec. 8, contingent upon successful completion of a background check and physical and psychological exams. Officer Donald Munro is retiring in January.

The council also will consider employing Jose Aceves as a replacement probationary patrol officer effective Feb. 3. Captain Rich Heuerman is retiring in May.

Tonight's meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 208 N. 19th St. The meeting agenda and related documents are posted online at http://mattoon.illinois.gov/government/citycouncil/upcomingmeetings.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @RobStroud

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