Decatur City Council votes to revitalize Garfield Park, add funding to home improvement program

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur City Council approved of several initiatives at their city council meeting, including funding renovations for Garfield Park and two bridges.

One big proposal is funding an additional $400,000 into the Small Home Improvement Program. The program helps owner-occupied homes to fund small repairs on their aging homes. It helped 17 grantees with ADA accessibility repairs and replacing roofs, doors and hot water tanks in 2023.

The program received $450,000 from the City Council in September 2022.

More information can be found on the city of Decatur’s website.

The Decatur City Council also unanimously approved of an ordinance to help crack down on the city’s vacant properties.

The ordinances requires any unmaintained, vacant properties to be registered with the city and owners will have to pay twice a year. Property owners do have an appeal option if their space is ruled as ‘registerable’.

The purpose of the ordinance is to motivate vacant property owners to keep their spaces maintained, and give the city more legal options to demolish or rehabilitate properties faster if needed.

Also approved at the meeting was using $250,000 to revitalize Garfield Park. Some proposals to revitalize the park include a new playground, new shelters and parking lots, a new basketball court and ADA improvements. The city is working with the Illinois Housing Development Authority to repurpose the school building into affordable senior living apartments.

The council also allocated funding to revamp two bridges within city limits. The bridge on Grove Road over Sand Creek will be reconstructed with Rebuild Illinois Motor Fuel Taxes, and state motor fuel taxes is funding the repair of West Mound Road bridge over Stevens Creek.

The city also approved a contract to design a new parking deck attached to Barnes-Citizen Building.

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