Community meetings have been one way of keeping lines of communication open between Eagle View neighbors and city staff. (photo by Zach Dietmeier/WJBC)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington has filed for a one-year extension of a state grant the city received five years ago for a new park on the city's east side.
Deputy City Manager Barb Adkins said a grant the city received in 2008 for Eagle View Park would expire in December if no action is taken.
“This grant would expire in December and the staff looked at this and saw $400,000 that needed to be utilized,” Adkins said. “The city needs to use $600,000 to complete substantial construction.”
City Manager David Hales said the city filed an extension with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources last week. The funding was originally on the city council agenda for tonight. Hales said the matter is being delayed until a budget work session on Saturday to determine the city's options.
The park would be located northeast of the intersection of Towanda Barnes and GE Roads and will cost upwards of $1 million to complete.
Adkins said several delays have prevented the construction of park.
“It’s a regional, public park,” Adkins said. “We needed to look at additional parking options and lighting for nighttime play.”
Several public information sessions have allowed neighbors to stay in close contact with city officials during the planning stages. Adkins said more needs than just the neighborhood’s can begin to be fulfilled through the park’s construction.
“We’ve been strapped trying to find softball and baseball fields for our growing population and programs,” Adkins said. “It doesn’t solve the problem but when we looked at Eagle View we saw an ideal place to put a field.”
No completion date has yet been established but Adkins says significant progress must be made by December in order to use grant funds.
Financial plans for Eagle View Park were specifically omitted from the city’s initial budget proposal for 2014.
Community Development Block Grant
In addition to parks, the city council will also review the annual community development block grant. The grant is paid annually and can change based on need. The city’s main use focus for 2013 centers on sidewalks and infrastructure improvements.
The council meets at 7 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall.
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.