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Local

Residents key to grant in Dixon

2,000 asked to pledge their support online

DIXON – Community support will be key to winning a $10 million federal grant to further improve the Riverfront, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin’s office told Mayor Jim Burke.

So area residents are being asked to pledge their support at www.discoverdixon.org by June 28.

The grant team is shooting for pledges from 2,000 people, said Police Chief Danny Langloss, special assistant to the City Council. They don’t have to be Dixon residents.

The grant is needed to complete a $12 million riverfront project that includes a pedestrian bridge across old Illinois Central railroad piers over the Rock River, reconstruction of East River Street from Galena Avenue to state Route 2 and about 3 miles of pedestrian paths.

“Community support is an absolutely key element,” Langloss said. “We need to show the community is behind the idea.”

Langloss learned Wednesday that Dixon is one of 568 communities to apply for a grant through the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, or TIGER.

The bad news: Combined, those communities are seeking about $9 billion; only $474 million will be handed out. That’s an average of about $15 million per request.

The good news: The number of applicants is down about 330 from last year, and requesting an amount below the average will strengthen Dixon’s case, Langloss said.

The grant team’s full attention now will be on marketing its request. The city will know if and how much it will get before Labor Day.

Durbin and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno, have crafted letters of support.

If Dixon were awarded the grant, the project would begin in October 2014.

To make a pledge

Go to www.discoverdixon.org and click the "TIGER grant" tab in the upper-left corner of the page. A cost-benefit analysis, a YouTube video and articles are available to provide more information about the grant.

Also, a Facebook page called "Dixon Tiger Project" has been launched. It had 67 likes as of Wednesday afternoon.

Call City Hall, 815-288-1485, for more information.

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