MACOMB — Progress is steady on the Downtown Revitalization Project as workers are preparing to remove the corner islands and remaining parking barriers around the square. This moves the project ahead by a week.
According to Aaron Furrow, superintendent for United Contractors Midwest, workers will begin removal of the northeast parking island on Monday morning. After that, Furrow said workers will remove the center medians on the north and east sides of the courthouse as structures arrive. Furrow said that so far, 12- four- and six-inch pipe has been delivered.
“It’s all coming together,” he said.
Light posts were removed from the four quadrants on Thursday. The light poles and monument blocks have been placed off of the square.
Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry said some residents noticed the statues around the square were removed and expressed concern. She said the statues will be replaced. New sculptures will be selected in June, as the sculptures are part of a rotating public exhibition. One of the sculpture bases will be placed at Fire Station 1 and the other at Westen Investments on North Lafayette Street. The statues were removed to accommodate construction, as well as to ensure they are not damaged by equipment.
Mayor Mike Inman clarified with Furrow that draining off the southeast corner will still be on the surface, “but will be much better” than it currently is. Draining off the southwest corner to Hardisty Way alley will be moved underground.
Work will also be done to install stop signs at the four entrances to the square off of Randolph and Lafayette streets. Handicapped parking spaces will also be addressed.
Furrow said he has conferred with Public Works interim Director Kent Cox about the potential for conflict with Western Illinois University commencement weekend. Furrow said work is being timed to try to have the least impact in the area of the square where restaurants are located during that time. He said workers will free up as many parking spaces as possible on the square at the end of each day.
Terry clarified the square will not be impacted on graduation weekend.
“UCM intends to reopen the quadrant they are working on at the end of each day,” she said.
UCM Vice President Michael McGillicuddy told the Voice that the removal of the center medians and restructuring of the islands will further enable the return of the second row of parking along the inner parking ring.
The large corner islands will be replaced with landscaped structures. Another benefit of the corner island rework is it will allow for better turning by large emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks.
Macomb Police Lt. Derek Carle reported there was one parking complaint so far this week, and it was with regard to a person parking in an area that had been marked off.
Terry continues to stress that access to the downtown square will not be closed off during construction.  
The Downtown Revitalization Project update group meets at 2 p.m. Thursday in the community room at Macomb City Hall.

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