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home : news : north central illinois   February 6, 2016

3/14/2013 10:36:00 AM
Committee discusses Miller Park plan

Lee Strubinger
Princeton Bureau Chief

PRINCETON — Due to budgetary constraints, the federal government will be cutting back on subsidies that help fund certain operations.
 Amtrak routes have become a part of subsidy discussions. The federal government is considering cutting funding for any Amtrak routes running under 750 miles.
“If that happens, within the relatively near future, a year or so, that might eliminate some of the trains that go through Princeton and stop in Princeton,” Princeton city manager Jeff Clawson said.
An ad hoc committee met Wednesday night to discuss the future of Darius Miller Park and the Amtrak parking lot. Clawson said if Amtrak subsidy cuts affect the Princeton stop the priority of the station parking lot may change.
“(The city) is not going to get too aggressive about spending a lot of money until we know for sure where that’s going,” Clawson said.
Originally, $50,000 of the city’s budget was to go toward the parking lot, but since budget discussions, $45,000 of that money is being repurposed toward other needs. The remaining $5,000 will go toward engineering updates on previous plans for the lot.
Several plans for both Miller Park and the Amtrak parking lot have been made, including removal of Bicentennial Drive. That would make West Long Street the entrance into the depot area, including a roundabout and about 125 parking spaces. Amtrak ridership in Princeton has increased to about 106 people a day, Clawson said.
Meanwhile, the Miller Park ad hoc committee will be expected to make strong recommendations to the city council about in-house renovations staff members can do to the park. This would limit budgetary constraints, according to Clawson, because the city would be using their own manpower.
Recommendations also may include scaling back on the pavilion, removal of the fountain and cleaning up the park.
 Lee Strubinger can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or at

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