Unresolved funding stalls Lucinda project

By Caryn Rosenberg

Two heads may be better than one, but even with NIU and the city of DeKalb working together, the Lucinda Avenue construction project remains on the drawing board until the issue of funding can be resolved.

Funding for the Lucinda project will come from NIU, the city of DeKalb and, depending on which of the six alternatives is chosen, Federal Aid Urban, which is money provided by the Federal Highway Administration.

Ralph Tompkins, DeKalb’s assistant director of public works for engineering services, said due to changes made in the Federal Highway Act a few weeks ago, they are not sure of the amount of money they will be eligible for from the government.

“Funding is the main issue,” Tompkins said. “We’re hoping the amount will go up, but within the next four to six weeks it will become more clear.”

Tompkins said funding will play a part in choosing which of the proposed alternatives to use, but said the final alternative choice is ultimately a policy decision which will be made by the council.

Eddie Williams, vice president for Finance and Planning, said NIU and the city of DeKalb are each responsible for different aspects of the construction.

“The city has made a commitment to do the resurfacing,” Williams said. “NIU will take care of the sidewalks and the utilities.”

Tompkins said NIU is not physically going to do anything with the project.

“The university will pay for a portion of the contract,” Tompkins said.

In the meantime, Tompkins said they are still in the design process and estimates the revised proposals will be presented to the DeKalb City Council in late February or early March.

“No alternatives have been ruled out, but there has been some combining and modifications of the alternatives,” Tompkins said.

Current alternatives include construction options ranging from full reconstruction with or without a median from Annie Glidden Road to Kishwaukee Road, as well as a “no build” alternative which requires only the resurfacing of necessary areas.

The cost for these alternatives ranges from $325,000 to 4,100,000.

“We’re trying to pull it all together,” Williams said. “In the next couple of months we should have the answers to a lot of this.”