MACOMB -- The next phase of downtown revitalization will include an overhead sprinkling system for second floor apartments above local businesses. The city council's public works committee met Thursday to discuss downtown work to begin in 2020.
Macomb received a $1.2 million state grant that will be used to pay for streetscape improvements and better lighting. The city will match the grant for the work with $300,000.
City Administrator Dean Torreson said Macomb would add another $700,000 for additional downtown improvements. This would include $120,00 for six-inch water lines and valves to allow an apartment sprinkling system.
The fire prevention system and grants to landlords to upgrade electrical and water systems are part of a strategy to improve the downtown apartments in an effort to attract older people with discretionary income to live downtown. Some businesses have expressed the desire to make their upstairs apartments more attractive.
Torreson said Macomb would spend $250,000 on engineering, construction, and improvements in downtown electrical and water systems. He said $200,000 would be used to pay for electrical wiring and conduit for new street lights, and $175,000 would be spent on hot mix asphalt paving of portions of the downtown.
Of the streetscape concept, Alderman Mike Wayland said it would make the city square "more like a park and it will slow down the traffic." Mayor Mike Inman added, "There are pedestrian safety measures built into the design."
Torreson said sales tax revenue would be used for the city's $1 million contribution: $250,000 from the current fiscal year, $250,000 from 2019-2020, and $500,000 from 2020-2021. He added that additional Illinois Department of Transportation grant funds could become available to support the wiring for the street lighting.
The full city council will downtown work at Monday's committee of the whole meeting. It will begin at 5:15 p.m. on the second floor of Macomb City Hall.
In other business, Public Works Director Scott Coker endorsed a pavement preservation program for the improvement of streets until more reconstruction money becomes available. "This would keep streets in useable condition until it's time to do an overlay," he said.
Coker outlined the types of preservation that could be used. "Crack filling and sealing has done well for many of our streets," he said. Seal coating could extend a street's life for three or four years, and Coker said oiling, chipping and sealing is the most cost effective method of pavement preservation.
Alderman Dennis Moon, chairman of the public works committee, suggested that Coker consult with engineers and bring back a "target list" of streets within 90 days as candidates for pavement preservation. "We realize that there are some streets that need to be rebuilt." Moon said. "Money is the issue."
Coker provided an update for the committee on street resurfacing on North Randolph Street from Pierce Street to University Drive. He said rocks were removed from the hillside and replaced with riprap, and curb and gutter replacements were completed.
"Milling and overlay will be done next week," Coker said. He added that some manhole adjustments would need to be done later.
Josh Peters, the city sewer system and plant manager, discussed a 2020 timeline for the second phase of improvements to the sewer plant. He said Macomb would apply for a second 20-year Illinois Environmental Protection Agency low interest loan to fund the project.
Peters said there are no cost estimates yet, but a facility plan must be turned in to the IEPA by the end of this year. He said final design work would be done during 2019.
Hanson Professional Services will present a proposed engineering design agreement to the city council in July. Peters said some of the improvements needed include fine screens for sewage treatment, grit removal, clarifier rehabilitation, rehabilitation of the aerated sludge digester and a system for ultraviolet disinfection.
The committee voted to recommend purchase of a hydroexcavator and trailer for the city street department. Operations Manager Brad Whitford said the $64,000 unit was tried out earlier. He said it would liquefy and pump out soil surrounding pipes in need of repair.

Reach Patrick Stout by email at