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Now on the fast track

Grant to help pay for Dwight train depot work; bike paths also funded

BLOOMINGTON (MCT) — A state grant will help pay for an extension on the Historic Route 66 Bikeway in McLean County and a rehabilitation project at the Dwight Train Depot.

McLean County is the lead agency for a multi-governmental project for the bike trail. The $800,000 will be used to add a 2.51-mile extension from County Highway 29 in Towanda north to the end of the old alignment of Route 66.

“This is another of the incremental phases of this long-term project,” said McLean County Administrator Bill Wasson. “It’s a good example of governments working together from the county board, local communities and the state, to enhance the quality of life for our residents.”

The Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grants, offered statewide, should support more than 400 jobs through 54 projects. Each grant approved must have a 20 percent local match.

Bloomington, Normal and several McLean County communities have an intergovernmental agreement with the county on the bike trail project. McLean County will be responsible for $49,800. Wasson said it’s another step in the long process for completion of the trail through the county.

“It’s difficult to say when this will be finished because we depend on resources like this grant to fund the project,” he said.

In Dwight, the money will be used for work on the Dwight Train Station and Depot, a national historic landmark as recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.

The $391,210 grant will be used to work on the roof, the gutters, and windows, said Dwight City Administrator Kevin McNamara.

“We have applied for this two previous times and I’m excited we finally got it this time,” he said. “It’s been about 30 years since we have had major work on that and this is really good news for us.”

Gov. Pat Quinn, in announcing the grants last week, said the ITEP grants will improve the quality of life for everyone.

“The projects will create hundreds of jobs while preserving our heritage, beautifying communities and creating new transportation options across our state for pedestrians, bicyclists and others,” Quinn said in a press release.

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