Park makeover might be in the works

A boat ramp and two shelters are shown at Heritage Lake in south Rantoul. The village of Rantoul is seeking two grants totaling $600,000 to upgrade the lake and park area.

RANTOUL — A trail would be developed, a shelter replaced and a boat ramp/canoe launch area would be created under a plan to upgrade Rantoul’s Heritage Lake park facility.

The village will seek two state grants totaling $600,000 to do the work.

Recreation Superintendent Luke Humphrey said a $400,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources would fund a 10-foot-wide aggregate trail, spanning about 1 mile, and removal and replacement of the east shelter at the lake park.

Rantoul would presumably qualify for 90 percent of the grant money ($360,000 total) as a “distressed community.” The village would be required to fund $40,000 worth of the project.

A Heritage Lake committee, which included residents, helped to compile a concept plan for the project.

The proposal was outlined at last week’s monthly village board study session. Board Trustee Mark Wilkerson asked, pending grant approval, if construction of the project might start next year. Humphrey said it would likely not take place until 2021.

Earlier this year, the village was notified it would receive a $360,000 OSLAD grant for Rudzinski Park (the village will provide $40,000 toward the project) for a new playground and swing set, shade structures and circuit-training area, among other improvements.

“I am still in the process of trying to identify an engineering firm” for that project, Humphrey said. “There are a lot of things you have to do before you put a shovel in the ground.”

He said IDNR gives grant recipients two years to complete a grant project.

The village will also apply for a second grant for Heritage Lake — a Boat Access Area Grant, totaling $200,000.

It includes construction of a one-lane boat ramp at a cost of about $60,000, construction of a dock and canoe launch ($40,000), construction of a boat trailer/visitor parking lot ($50,000), construction of a restroom facility ($30,000) and associated grant expenses ($20,00).

Humphrey said that project would be located in the southwest corner of the lake.

“In the committee meetings, it was recommended to create some space for the main parking lot so it would not hinder any proposed future development of the main area of the parking lot,” Humphrey said.  

There will be no swimming area.

Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said if a swimming area were developed, it would be necessary to staff it with lifeguards. He cited the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center, which is staffed with “eight or nine” lifeguards at a time.

Approval of the grants application was to be voted on at Tuesday night’s village board regular meeting.

Other business

The board also:

• Was asked to approve the purchase of a 2019 Ford 150 truck for $24,784  from Shields Auto Group to replace a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup. Eisenhauer said there is significant wear and tear on the old vehicle, and a great deal of repair work has been done to keep the truck running. The new truck will be used by Code Enforcement to tow a trailer that hauls lawnmowing equipment and to pick up items dumped in town.

• Was asked to approve the sale of the former street division garage at 617 E. Grove Ave. for $10,000 to Waters Electric, Rantoul. The 4,500-square-foot building has been used only as a salt-storage facility in recent years.

• Was asked to approve an intergovernmental agreement with Rantoul City Schools to develop a safe route to school area for Northview Elementary, accessing the multi-use path north of the school. The project will be paid for with $200,000 in Safe Routes for School grant money awarded to the village in April and up to $100,000 provided by RCS. The board was also asked to approve an engineering agreement with ESI Consultants for $44,090 for the project.

• Was asked to approve the purchase of a Kenworth replacement dump truck chassis from CIT Trucks for $92,014 and a dump truck bed from Rahn Equipment Co. for $51,525 for the street division. It will replace a 1993 Ford that is in bad shape and can’t be used to haul salt any longer. The village will retain and modify the old vehicle to use it as a “chipping truck.” A contingency of $7,500 was also requested for the purchase.

• Was asked to approve a license agreement with Fortress Data Center to install a private electric line from a building it owns at 101 W. International Ave. to provide backup power to the south end of Rantoul Business Center that the company leases from the village.  

• Was asked by Comptroller Pat Chamberlin to approve a $18,600 contract with CBIZ to do an appraisal of all village buildings for insurance purposes. Chamberlin said when damage to umbrellas occurred at Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center  this summer, she learned the village’s facilities had not been appraised for several years.

• Was asked to approve installation of a sign on village property at the southwest intersection of Century Boulevard and Frost Avenue for the Head Start building.