Article contributed by the Illinois Senate Democrats.
The City of Gillespie will receive a $1 million state grant to support the city’s five-year plan to streetscape its downtown business district, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced Monday at a joint press conference with Gillespie Mayor John Hicks and Grow Gillespie leader Dan Fisher.
The City of Gillespie is investing $700,000 into the streetscape project, which will make a series of significant infrastructure updates and reinvent the esthetic of downtown Gillespie’s Macoupin Street as a regional destination for shopping, dining, and other commerce. The project will also improve pedestrian safety and make downtown more accessible for residents with mobility challenges.
“The future of Gillespie is strong thanks to Grow Gillespie and the commitment of local leaders to working with the state to build a vibrant and welcoming business environment,” Manar said. “For the young and talented, these efforts proclaim that you don’t have to move away to get ahead in the 21st-century economy. You have a right to your rural roots, and Grow Gillespie is doing the work to ensure Gillespie is a great place to raise a family and start a business for the next generation.”
Negotiated by Manar last year, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant was approved as part of the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan.
Laying the groundwork for the streetscape project is the city’s $11 million investment in a city-wide water line replacement, which is currently underway.
The streetscape design is a collaborative effort between the city and Grow Gillespie, a local group made up of volunteers, focused on fostering local pride and improving the business environment of downtown Gillespie.
“One of our primary goals with both the city and Grow Gillespie is to make downtown ‘the place’ to be by creating an attractive and comfortable ambiance that residents and visitors alike look forward to experiencing,” said Dan Fisher, the Gillespie City Treasurer and a Grow Gillespie organizer. “Thanks to Senator Manar, we have the opportunity to move forward on our plan to revitalize our community.”