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home : news : news   March 26, 2015

3/23/2013 5:58:00 AM
Ottawa ready for $1 million streetscaping project

Andre Ashmore, Illinois Department of Transportation deputy secretary, sits with Ottawa Mayor Robert Eschbach (left) at a press conference Friday.NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
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Andre Ashmore, Illinois Department of Transportation deputy secretary, sits with Ottawa Mayor Robert Eschbach (left) at a press conference Friday.
NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
Kevin Caufield
Staff Writer

OTTAWA — Ottawa city officials announced Friday plans are underway for $1 million worth of landscaping and scenic beautification improvements thanks to a grant.
The city was awarded a $770,630 grant from Illinois Department of Transportation through its federally funded Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. The grant is an 80/20 match, meaning the city will use about $200,000 in Tax Increment Financing funds on the project.

“The idea is to create a sense of place among the traffic ways and create an environment that is pleasing and attractive to pedestrians, provides safe routes for bicycles, and improves traffic flow and patterns to help bring more traffic into a community without creating more traffic pressure on its systems and facilities,” said Andre Ashmore, IDOT deputy secretary.

Specifically, the grant money will be spent along Columbus Street from the Illinois River bridge northward to Washington Square. It will involve ornamental streetlights and pedestrian lighting, landscaped planting areas, landscaped bump-outs on all four corners of the five street intersections and IDOT-approved shade trees.

Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach said the city dedicated itself to beautification projects downtown about 13 years ago to entice business owners to invest downtown.
Already, much of the opposite one-way, La Salle Street, has undergone major beautification projects, and as a result of the IDOT grant, this project will begin as early as fall 2014, Eschbach said.

 “We could show them we know how to do it based on the La Salle Street project,” he said. “If you asked me two years ago if we’d ever be able to do this, I’d say no.
“…the city is aggressive in seeking grants for things the city otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford,” Eschbach said.

Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or

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