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Dixon to take another stab at TIGER grant

Application deadline near

Published: Saturday, April 5, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – Dixon will again apply for a federal grant that could bring about $12.8 million to improve the city’s infrastructure.

The Dixon City Council is expected on Monday to approve an ordinance to allow the city to apply for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The grant, if received, would fund the Reagan Transit Corridor Project.

That project aims to widen and repair East River Street, add multi-use trails, and repurpose the Illinois Central Railway bridge west of the Peoria Avenue bridge.

Although the city has been denied a TIGER grant three times, Mayor Jim Burke said the city gets closer with each application.

“We have, at various times, talked to officials out in Washington [D.C.] and were given some suggestions on it,” he said this week. “We’ve learned from every one of those to focus on what they’re looking for.”

Previous applications – in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – have been refined to decrease the scope of the work, Geoff Vanderlin, a member of the citizens committee for the grant, said this week.

The biggest change in the new application that the city will submit this month – the deadline is April 28 – is 0.75 of a mile of multi-purpose trails to connect Dixon to other trails in the region.

Making the project more regional, Vanderlin said, could help the city’s chances.

The grant committee has considered applying for another grant through the TIGER program to be used for planning purposes. A request for that grant won’t be submitted until the next round of applications, Vanderlin said.

This year, the Blackhawk Hills Regional Council will assist in the planning and submission of the grant. Vanderlin said the group will bring inceased expertise to the process.

The grant area includes the section of River Street where the city is budgeting $1 million for repair in the next fiscal year. That money is coming from funds the city recovered in its legal settlement with former auditors and the sale of assets of former Comptroller Rita Crundwell.

That local investment in the project area could help the city’s chances of being awarded a grant on its fourth attempt.

“It shows that we have some skin in the game, for sure,” Burke said.

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