The Villages of Forest Park and River Forest were awarded a grant of $1,340,560.00 by the Illinois Department of Transportation's Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP). The grant will fund streetscape improvements to the Madison Street Corridor in both communities from Desplaines Avenue to Van Buren Street. The ITEP is a federally-funded, competitive program that encourages transportation-related enhancement projects in a variety of categories.
"We are excited about today's announcement." said Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone. "This grant will allow for the continuation of our existing streetscape on Madison which will assist us in our economic development initiatives. It is also nice to be working with our neighbors in River Forest in this initiative." River Forest Village President John Rigas echoed those sentiments. "We have a great working relationship with Forest Park and this grant is a terrific example of the intergovernmental cooperation paying off. Our kudos to Mayor Calderone for spearheading this effort."
The ITEP program is designed to promote and develop alternative transportation options, including bike and pedestrian travel, along with streetscape beautification. The federal funds are awarded competitively, and any local or state government with taxing authority is eligible to apply. Local matching funds are required, and work must begin on the projects within three years. The local share for this project is $492,640. Forest Park and River Forest will split this share each 50%.
For the current round of funding, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) received 328 applications requesting ITEP federal funding totaling nearly $327 million. Beginning this year, IDOT will begin awarding ITEP grants annually instead of every two years.