Atkinson planning downtown improvements

Claudia Loucks

Atkinson Village Board members are moving forward with plans for improvements in the downtown area.

Representatives Stacey Brockett and Zack Howell from Shive-Hattery Engineering, of Moline, were at the board meeting Monday, Feb. 4 and presented an architect’s drawing of the design which includes removing and replacing and widening sidewalks, resurfacing downtown streets, adding planters and benches, replacing curbs and gutters and replacing street lights.

Next, the board will meet with downtown business owners to gather input from them regarding project.

The cost estimate that includes engineering work is $857,000.

Mayor Ken Taber said, “We need to think positive and do all we can to make our village more appealing to attract small businesses.”

In August of 2018, the board learned the village has been approved to receive $99,000 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development. The funds are to be used to help pay for downtown improvement projects including sidewalks, cross walks, roadways and lighting.

The village has two years to use the grant money.

Mayor Taber said, “If we don’t have the entire amount, we can leave some of the projects out. The $99,000 may not seem like a lot when it is compared to $700,000 or $800,000, but it will be a substantial help.”

The village has two years to raise additional funds for the project before the expiration of the grant money.

The board also learned the village has been approved for an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant in the amount of $68,700, which is estimated to be half the cost for a new park shelter with rest rooms in Veterans Park.

Plans are to move ahead with the project as the village has $25,000 in memorial money that can be used for the new shelter.

In other business, the board learned details of the recent water main break that occurred on Church Street in below-zero temperatures on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Repair work was done by Home Town Plumbing, of Moline, and a water boil order was issued during the period until test results were cleared.

Board members also learned that village snow plows were temporarily “down” during the recent heavy snow and that it took somewhat longer to remove the snow.

Taber said, “Our public works employees did a terrific job in removing the snow with the amount that we had.”