What is it? On September 13, 2022, the Geneseo City Council approved a resolution to fund initial renderings of a potential pedestrian bridge and historical landing project across the Geneseo Creek at the intersections of S. State St. and Oakwood Avenue. Currently, pedestrians and bicyclists are forced to walk across the vehicular bridge, which puts both the pedestrians and the vehicle passengers at risk, as evidenced by the five vehicular collisions that occurred in the last year in the vicinity of the bridge. The current vehicular bridge is too narrow to accommodate a walking path, so a separate pedestrian bridge is required for the safety of Geneseo’s residents and visitors. On the east side of the Geneseo Creek, the pedestrian bridge will empty into a historical landing, where the marker for Geneseo’s first log cabin will be re-located to a much more accurate location than the current resting place further north on State St. The pedestrian bridge and historical landing will also feature a “Welcome to Geneseo” sign, highlighting our community as modern and hospitable. In addition to the safety and cultural preservation benefits of this project, there is also an economic benefit for local businesses. Five separate businesses on Oakwood Ave/Rte 82 reported an anticipated revenue increase of $5,000-$10,000 per store once the project is complete, primarily from new foot and bicycle traffic.
What’s next? On September 30, 2022, the City of Geneseo submitted for a state grant to fund approximately 50% of the total cost of the project. The State of Illinois will announce the grant winners in May 2023, and construction could begin shortly thereafter. The City of Geneseo has also submitted grant applications to local organizations to cover the additional 50% of the project cost.