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IDOT passes over Peoria, puts a quarter million in Morton’s coffers

You be the judge. Which sidewalk and curb do you think is in worse shape? (Both images are courtesy of Google Maps.)

Is it number 1:

Grundy Elementary School, Morton, Ill.

Or is it number 2:

Trewyn Middle School, Peoria, Ill.

If you picked number 1, then you probably work for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). That’s the one they picked, too. They decided the sidewalks and curbs at Grundy Elementary were crumbling and in disrepair, and allocated part of a $253,460 grant to help repair them. For Trewyn Middle School in Peoria? Zip. Zero. Nada. Not a penny of grant money for that fine piece of well-maintained urban fabric.

Here’s the bad news from a recent Issues Update released by the City of Peoria:

The City received notice that it was unsuccessful in its grant application request for a Safe Routes Grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation…. The Infrastructure portion of the grant application included $235,000 for sidewalks and curbs around Trewyn Middle School and Rolling Acres Edison Junior Academy…. Communities in the area that were successful in their grant applications include Morton, which received $253,460.

Yes, Morton — because we all know how run down and short of funds Morton is. According to the Journal Star, they wanted the money to pay for “replacement of crumbling sidewalks, curbs and gutters, installation of new sidewalks, and new crosswalks in an area that includes Grundy Elementary School, Blessed Sacrament School and Bethel Lutheran School.”

Apparently the grant award process didn’t include a physical site inspection.

28 comments to IDOT passes over Peoria, puts a quarter million in Morton’s coffers

  • jim stowell

    Water retention has been a problem around Trewyn for years. The City said they would be addressing this issue and had design plans done over two years ago, before “shovel ready stimulus” projects were sought. The Dist. 150 building committee was lead to believe the project was going to get done. Period. Who made this decision? What criteria was used? Can the City challenge the result?

  • peoriafan

    I hate Morton.

  • Mazr

    This reminds me of the Prospect speed bump issue a few years ago. I know what part of Prospect needed the speed bumps and it sure wasn’t the part the city chose to put them in.

    Sorry if that’s off topic, but it’s the first thing I thought of.

  • New Voice


    Are you angry because Morton is receiving funds,or…………………………………

    that Peoria is wasting them?

  • EmergePeoria

    That Trewyn area has been “shovel ready” for years. Who wrote the grant for the City of Peoria? Maybe the Morton grant was better written.

  • 11Bravo

    First CJ, I can’t believe that you are going to base your entire argument on evidence you found on Google Street View. Second, I think that is evidence of the problem with your point of view to begin with since you wouldn’t even consider traveling to Morton to see for yourself. Some people who live in the city of Peoria think that the city is the end-all-be-all of Central Illinois and that if any money is going to be spent it would be a waste to go anywhere but in the city. God forbid, money go to an outlying community, I mean its not as if more people in the Peoria MSA live outside the city than in it…oh wait yes it is.

    Besides, I would imagine there to be some truth to Emerge’s statement and I also would not be surprised if IDOT felt that the Morton project had more community support and possibly even that it was a better investment when you compare Morton’s and Peoria’s track record for maintaining that kind of infrastructure.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    Emerge: Ditto … I had the same thought that the Morton grantwriter might have included different elements which added to the receipt of funds.

  • The Mouse

    putting money in Peoria is like pouring water down a drain. It is precisely because Morton will better maintain the improvement, that it should get it. Unless/Until Peoria wakes up to fact that it has to confront its problems instread of chasing after the next expensive unneeded panacea (be it a museum, a new hotel, a trail, you name your money pit), Peoria shouldn’t get any federal or state tax dollars.

  • […] Wondering why, he went to Google Maps to see how the two sidewalks compared. […]

  • Leslie110

    I live in Morton and don’t like the assumption that since our city uses funds in a responsible manner that we shouldn’t receive state funds. News alert…we pay taxes in Morton too.

  • New Voice


    I don’t live in Morton, and I agree with you.

    How would you like to buy a stake in a really, really cool museum?

  • Mahkno

    Morton has been a sinkhole for unnecessary road improvement dollars for decades. There is nothing surprising here.

  • EmergePeoria

    Jim Stowell said:

    “The Dist. 150 building committee was lead to believe the project was going to get done. Period. Who made this decision? What criteria was used? ”

    … ooops sounds like the City’s grant writer forgot to collaborate with the School District, perhaps that is the problem.

  • jim stowell

    Emerge – The city showed us detailed drawings of how they were going to improve the curbing (there is none) and parking area around Trewyn some time in 2007. Really nice. This was long before anyone even perceived the need for “stimulus money”. It was my understanding that it was on the path to being done (budgeted). I believe the funding expected back then was a combination of city, school, and grants, but I would want to check minutes to be sure. Hope this doesn’t preclude the job from getting done. Please join us for the Back to School pancake breakfast at Trewyn on friday, Sept 18th @ 7:30 am. If it rains, wear boots, because pools of water form quickly. 🙂

  • kohlrabi

    Peoria has detailed drawings of all kinds of projects – Sheridan Triangle comes to mind – it doesn’t mean that the project will ever be done.

  • Jim, the money for the project in front of Trewyn was there but is now being used to install ornamental lighting and new sidewalks on Columbia Terr between University and Sheridan Rd. Once again BVA said “Sit!” and Gulley did.

  • 11Bravo: First, what makes you think I didn’t drive to Morton and look at the sidewalks for myself? Because I used images from Google Maps? I think you made some assumptions there. In fact, I drive to Morton a couple times a month to visit friends there. I just don’t always have my camera with me. Rest assured, I’ve seen the sidewalks and curbs for myself. Trewyn doesn’t even have any curbs.

    Second, I’m not against outlying communities getting state money. But it should be proportionate to need. Clearly the needier area is in Peoria in this case.

  • Leslie110 & Mouse: You have a good point. Nevertheless, it gets tiring seeing millions of state tax dollars spent on things that need little repair (like this recent I-74 resurfacing, for instance, after they just finished completely rebuilding the thing two or three years ago), while things in great need of repair are ignored for decades.

  • leslie110

    CJ- the projects were ignored by your city governemnt long before being ignored by the state.

  • Leslie110: Tell me about it.

  • Maybe the state has the same motto as my parents did 35 years ago. You didn’t take care of the bike you had, we aren’t buying you a new one. I kind of like this: the city is whining that they didn’t get the money, but they won’t allocate the money themselves but they can come up with $$ for a museum and hotel.

  • Westside Environmental Plan of Action Committee, Inc

    Peoria seems to be fast becoming: “The other side of the river”. I have said in the past that it would.

    Additionally, The smart Morton students need sidewalks and curbs, as they ride their bikes and walk to school.

    Seems to me that Lead-poisoned students of Peoria (who number among the top per capita in the United States) should be requesting more money to enlarge the Parking Lots where they park their “Short Buses”.

    We’re here to help.

    IDOT isn’t the only funding source that is drying up for Peoria, HUD also has recently withdrawn funding. They’re getting tired of our (Peoria) ways.

    -The Westside Environmental Plan of Action Committee, Inc. (WEPAC)

  • New Voice

    But………………………we’re building a museum………..?

  • SD

    We shouldn’t begrudge Morton the money. After all if Peoria had gotten it they would have had to spend nearly every dime of it on some outside source to do a study before anything else was done. Peoria has spent millions and millions of dollars hiring outsiders to do studies that never come to anything but spent money. Like I have said before evidently the powers that be don’t feel there is anyone in Peoria that can think for Peoria.

  • anon e. mouse

    I’ve got some time tonight before I have to pick up my son from JFL, so I am going to cruise these three areas.

    IIRC –
    Bethel Lutheran School on Queenwood (not to be confused with the church on Jefferson) has no sidewalks out front.

    Blessed Sacrament just completed (or will soon complete) a major renovation/expansion. There may be some planned change/upgrade to the sidewalks and parking lot entries.

    Grundy shares space with the new pool currently under construction. There are certainly some planned change/upgrade to the sidewalks and parking lot entries in this case.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    OK – cruised the three places in question.

    1. Bethel Lutheran School DOES indeed have sidewalks. If there is any work to be done, it is probably the handicap ramps at the driveway. Ramps exist, but the curbing was just cut to make room for them. BTW, there is no sidewalk on either side of the school property – just on the school property. To the east is a corn field and to the west…another church(?).

    2. Blessed Sacrament is not finished with their school expansion, yet, but they are close. There is some minor damage to the curbing on the church side, there is some more serious damage on the school side, although it looks directly related to the construction. (Why isn’t the contractor/school being made to pay for fixing this?)

    3. At Grundy, there is some curbing falling apart on the Greenwood side. The Morton School District owns both sides of that street, with the sidewalks on the Administration Building side (former Grace Church) in a bit worse shape.

    I really don’t pay much attention to the sidewalks in Morton (I don’t live in town) but looking at them, today – wow, they are, generally, in pristine condition. I chalk it up to two things. First, residents take care of them. If there is a week growing between the crack, it gets pulled. Second, sidewalks get replaced when they START to crumble, not after they are done crumbling.

    I don’t know where Treywn is, but I guess if I did go look at it, it would be much more deserving of new sidewalks. That said, don’t gripe because Morton got their ducks in a row and got the funding. I suspect the grant applications had a lot to do with it.

  • […] isn’t Peoria’s year for winning grant awards. After losing out to Morton for some IDOT money, Peoria got more bad news — this time from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). […]

  • anon e. mouse
    CJ – yours is the only comment so far, and it sounds like sour grapes.

    Oddly enough, i noted that there were already sidewalks @ Bethel, but none on either side. That is what the grant is for – sidewalks where thee are none.