City of Carlinville applies for Illinois DCEO Rebuild
The City of Carlinville announced its grant application to the Rebuild Illinois Downtowns and Main Streets Grant” through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Monday, with a $1.4 million submission centered around public infrastructure improvements and Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliance around the city square and the Macoupin County Courthouse.
“In many communities, town squares have suffered from loss of business, vacant storefronts, and declining use by residents and civic organizations,” Carlinville Mayor Sarah Oswald said. “Our square, by contrast, remains the center of the town’s social activities, serving as the host for a number of festivals, community events, farmer’s markets, and concerts. We are thrilled at the opportunity to make this investment to support our small businesses and residents.”
The project requests funds to invest in new sidewalks, repaving city parking near the square, ensuring ADA compliance for building access and parking for every business on the square, establishing a potential “welcome plaza” next to the Chamber of Commerce and Carlinville Welcome Center, and other infrastructure needs on the Square such as a new crosswalk.
The grant submission received letters of support from State Senator Doris Turner, Macoupin County Board Chairman Larry Schmidt, Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau President & CEO Cory Jobe, the Carlinville Community Chamber of Commerce, Winning Communities, NFL., and the Carlinville Business Partnership, Inc.
In his letter of support, Jobe linked Carlinville’s proposal with opportunities for job creation, increased sales tax, and increased visitor growth for the community, highlighting the importance of public infrastructure investments in the lead up to Route 66’s centennial anniversary.
“Route 66 will be turning 100 in 2026,” Jobe said. “The State of Illinois and the federal government will be focused on attracting visitors from around the world to travel and experience Route 66. It is imperative that we support and develop our historic infrastructure and Route 66 product and small business in Illinois.
Source funding for the Rebuild Illinois Main Street and Downtown Capital program is part of $1.5 billion authorized by the State’s FY 22 budget to help jumpstart the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Projects eligible for RBI Main Street and Downtown Capital grants must be located in a commercial or downtown area with project awards ranging from $250,000 to $3 million in funding.
“When we partnered with the Chamber of Commerce on a community listening session for ideas for the scope of this grant, improving infrastructure around the square was easily the most suggested program from the citizens,” Oswald said. “Upgrading the infrastructure around the square could be a huge step forward for downtown businesses and our tourism appeal, particularly when the world visits Carlinville in 2026 for the 100th anniversary of Route 66.”