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Southern Illinois communities receive ITEP funding for transportation projects

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 4:24 PM CDT
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - If you drive through Marion and Carbondale, you’ll see a lot of road work this summer, along with expansion projects.

Both cities received state funding for much-needed improvements.

The City of Marion and the City of Carbondale both stated they are excited to expand on projects that have been in the works for some time.

“We were very fortunate, we are very grateful that we received that grant funding,” said Mike Absher, mayor of Marion.

The City of Marion received just under $1.6 million in funding as part of a larger budget and project.

“The ITEP funding is going to be more of the streetscapes and the transportation itself improvement. We’ve got a little bit of a traffic issue up here on the square,” said Absher.

The grant money will also be used to fix sidewalks as well around the downtown area.

“And that money will be used as part of, what is an overall, about a $10 million long-term budget to improve downtown Marion,” said Absher.

Included in that project are murals across downtown, and improvements to the square.

Also, multiple water fountains that will have LED lights and music synchronized to them.

And in the winter, an ice-skating rink will be put out there.

This is all part of the city’s plan for revitalizing downtown. Those projects are all funded locally and not part of this grant.

The City of Carbondale received $2 million.

“It will build a multi-use path separate from the road along Route 13, beginning at Old Murphysboro Road, where Golds Gym is on the west side of town, and reaching out further west to Wood Road, which is, a lot of people might know where the humane society is,” said City Planner Molly Maxwell. “It’s just something that’s been on the city’s priority list for a long time just to expand our bicycle network in general.”

Their goal for this extension is, according to Maxwll, is “to make feasible for people to travel around town by bicycle just as safely and efficiently as you would be able to by car.”

“As far as it being finished, we are not there yet. We still have to sit down and figure out a schedule And talk to the contractors and all that fun stuff.” said Maxwell

Back in Marion, Absher said he hopes these downtown improvements will last for the next generation.

“This really isn’t just simply to make things look better. It’s all integrated into making it more vibrant, walkable, enjoyable, parkable area for people to come so that commerce can re-exist downtown.” said Absher

The City of West Frankfort, Jackson County, City of Herrin, Marion C.U.S.D. 2 and Rides Mass Transit, all received funds part of this grant.

In total, over $10 million were awarded to communities in southern Illinois.

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