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Coal City saving funds to renovate Broadway Street

COAL CITY – The village of Coal City will begin saving funds for a future project to renovate Broadway Street.

The village will need to come up with $400,000 by 2018 in order to receive $2 million in federal grant money that will be put toward the Broadway restoration project, Coal City Administrator Matt Fritz said.

The Broadway improvements will stretch from Route 113 to the BNSF railroad track, but actual construction on the project won’t begin for at least five years, Fritz said.

“This is going to be a complete reconstruction of Broadway. There’s going to be a new layout,” Fritz said. “This also complies with the phase one analysis included in our comprehensive plan that was adopted this past spring.”

The $2 million will be awarded through the Will County Governmental League, a federally funded planning organization that helps municipalities plan and finance their transportation improvement projects.

Coal City is located mostly in Grundy County, but a portion is located in Will County.

The governmental league is allotted money from the federal government, which it divides among its municipal members, or those that belong to the organization through a membership.

“If you don’t belong to an [metropolitan planning organization], you have to go down to the state and compete with everyone else for funding,” Fritz said. “But we’re a member so we have to compete within their pool of members.”

Mayor Neal Nelson said moving forward with Broadway restoration has been a longtime goal for the village, but it struggled to find the funding.

Recently, Coal City received a $100,000 grant to complete the engineering phase of the project. By completing that engineering, the village is now eligible for the governmental league’s transportation funding.

“We’ll be able to get on the list now to receive the federal funding through the Will County Government League,” Nelson said.

Coal City has been a member of the Will County Governmental League since 2007, when Nelson took office.

Nelson said joining the league – comprised of several municipalities – has proved valuable for the village in terms of financing and learning from other communities.

“You’re not standing alone. We learn from each other and support each other,” Nelson said. “It’s an outstanding group.”

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