BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A city in southeast Iowa has won a $17 million federal grant that officials say will fund dramatic changes to its riverfront and downtown.
Lawmakers announced Tuesday that Burlington was awarded the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, the Hawk Eye reported . The U.S. Department of Transportation has $500 million to allocate to cities through the grant program this year.
"This was us taking a half-court shot blindfolded and making it," said City Planner Charlie Nichols, who oversaw the application process. "It is an unbelievably good deal for downtown Burlington."
The grant money will fund a significant re-imagining of Burlington's riverfront, including large boat docks, trees, planters, seating, green spaces and parking lot improvements. The docks will be built to be used by the public and river cruise lines.
The funding will also upgrade two streets with bike racks, resurfacing, sidewalk expansion, planters, storm improvements and new street lights and trees. The plan is to convert Main and Jefferson streets into "complete streets," a renovation initiative for pedestrians, bicycles and cars.
Specific designs have not been finalized yet.
"Now we have to figure out how to portion out $17 million, which is a very good problem to have," Nichols said.
Burlington will use flood wall and sewer separation work as a large part of the required local match for the grant. The exact matching amount needed is unclear, but Nichols said the city will have to hand over minimal additional funds.
City officials don't yet know when Burlington will receive the grant money.
Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com