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By Pat Pratt
Downtown Troy may be shining bright with a new look in the near future, as plans are underway for decorative street lamps and other improvements along Market Street from Border Street to Hickory Street.
In addition to decorative lighting, the project also includes new sidewalks which are Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and the burying of overhead power lines in the area. City administrator Jay Keeven said the improvements are part of a plan to make the district more attractive to investors and visitors alike.
“I think aesthetically if you have an attractive downtown area it attracts business,” Keeven said. “We are starting to see that now,” Keeven said. “We have developers reaching out and talking to us about the vacant buildings in that area and asking if these are something the city would be willing to partner in. When I say partner, I mean help fund the improvement of the building with downtown business or TIF (tax increment financing) money.”
The entire project – lighting, sidewalks and utility line conversion to underground – is estimated at $2.8 million, with about $1.7 of that amount anticipated to be covered by an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant that was applied for in September. Keeven said the city expects to hear in April if the grant is approved.
“Hopefully the larger project is going to be funded by a grant,” Keeven said. “If we don’t get the grant, we will either reapply for another or figure out a way to use business district money or downtown TIF money. One way or another, we will get it done. Without the grant it will take longer.”
While it may be sometime before the entire project is completed, visitors to the downtown area will soon see the first of the decorative lighting in a new 22-space parking lot currently under construction between the Troy Municipal Building and a new restaurant and upscale apartment complex underway at the corner of Market and Main streets.
“So we are going to do the decorative street lighting and that’s going to go into the parking lot between city hall and the new restaurant,” Keeven said. “That lighting will match the street lighting. Part of the development agreement with Pfund (Construction) is that we would bury power lines by his building, because he couldn’t go two stories up with the power being that close to him.”
Keeven said with all these improvements in the works, a new restaurant and upscale apartments soon to open and an increase in investor attraction to the downtown area, he expects the business district will have a very different and improved look in the months and years ahead.
“I would say three years down the road you can anticipate we will have an extremely different look,” Keeven said. “And my prediction would be that in three to five years, you will not see a vacant building in our downtown, not one.”