EFFINGHAM — Effingham City Council this week approved the use of local funds to extend Thies Avenue and improve Airport Road.

The council unanimously voted to provide funding from its Illinois Department of Transportation Truck Access Route Program and Economic Development Program for the Thies Avenue extension and improvements to East 1100th Avenue, known as Airport Road.

The city funds will be coupled with private funding from Hetzels Overland Transport and public funding from Effingham County. Hetzels is planning to relocate to Airport Road, and the city and county are partnering to apply for a Rebuild Illinois Regional Economic Development grant for the projects.

The council approved the cooperation agreement between the two governments in its omnibus agenda vote.

The estimated total cost of the projects comes to $2,256,549, and the local and private funds will cover 35.12 percent, or $792,530, of the total cost.

“The way it’s kind of broken out is the total project cost is about $2.2 million for both improvement of the streets — the city’s street and also the county’s portion of the street. The DCEO (Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) grant, or the RIRED grant, would cover about $1.146 million of that $2.2 million. The other monies, about $792,000, come from other grants that we have applied for in conjunction with the county and in conjunction with the private entities,” Effingham Public Works Director Jeremy Heuerman told the council.

“If everything goes right, we can hopefully get these two roadway extensions to help not only the existing buildings and manufacturers that are looking to expand and build in the area, but it would also help for future expansions down along South Rt. 45 as well.”

The receipt of the RIRED grant would allow the city, in cooperation with the county, to construct a 1,250-foot street extension of Thies Avenue, which would include 1,308 feet of sanitary sewer and 1,230 feet of water main.

On Airport Road, 1,100 feet of East 1100th Avenue would be replaced along with the construction of 1,160 feet of sanitary sewer. The city of Effingham would be the lead agency on the grant application, but the county will financially assist using some of their grant funds.

Meanwhile, the council approved an amendment to an ordinance that would establish rules and regulations of pollution discharge and a fee for sewer rates in the city. Heuerman said the sewer rates will continue to increase the same as they have in the past.

“This is the results of the study that we did for the sewer rates for the next four years. It takes into effect all the operation and maintenance and capital projects we initiated, mandated by the (Environmental Protection Agency),” Heuerman said. “It is recommended to do a 3 percent increase each year for four years as we have done in the past.”

In other matters, the council:

• Adopted its annual operating budget for fiscal year 2021, which begins May 1, and its five-year capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2021 to fiscal year 2025.

• Approved a resolution authorizing a $10,000 contribution to the Effingham City/County Committee on Aging from the city’s general fund to be used for senior services.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 132.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 132.

Reporter

Kaitlin Cordes covers Effingham County, police and courts and sports features for the Effingham Daily News. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Cordes is a native of Effingham.

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