Streator's downtown will undergo a transformation in 2020.
The downtown streetscape project initially planned for summer 2019 is expected to be completed this summer.
The Illinois Transportation Enhancement program awarded a $487,960 grant to the city in May 2018 to help it extend the concept seen in the 300 block of Main Street, featuring brick bump outs, coal cart planters and period street lights.
“The IDOT approvals will all come through in the first couple months and we’ll get the work done this summer,” said City Engineer Jeremy Palm.
The improvements will include changing Vermillion and Monroe streets to two-way and replacing the streetlights.
Former City Manager Scot Wrighton told The Times in May 2018 the one-way street setup better suited the downtown decades ago but two-way streets would remove confusion and lead to easier navigation.
New Streator High auditorium on schedule for spring opening
The Streator High School Auditorium project is progressing with an expected completion date of April.
Superintendent Matt Seaton said the district wants the opening to be in line with the April 3 opening weekend of "Beauty and the Beast," this year’s school musical production.
Work is on pace to be completed on time and Seaton expects the ceiling work to be done by Monday, Jan. 20; the scaffolding will be taken down after that and substantial changes can begin.
Work on the ceiling is nearing completion, and new seats will be installed and the rest of the fixings, a control room, lighting and curtains can be constructed inside the 84-year-old building.
Seaton said the auditorium will house spring productions from the chorus and the band, and Poco-a-Poco, a summer music festival for students, will also be making use of the renovated building.
“We hope the community takes advantage of any opportunities they have to use it,” Seaton said. “If there are opportunities for the community to have traveling performers, bands, symphony orchestras, anything like that, we’d be open to having those events here.”
Work on the auditorium began last July. Once it’s completed, it will seat 600, down from the 1,100 it could fit previously, but seats will be organized in a way that makes them more comfortable and gets rid of unobstructed views.
It will also feature a bandshell, projection screens and improved acoustics, bringing the building into the 21st century.
A new hotel in Northpoint progresses
A potential hotel in Northpoint Plaza is another project that's been on hold for some time.
Palm said architects from the planned Tru by Hilton chain are working on design drawings, but there isn’t a time frame yet.
“I’ve talked to the engineers and they said they’re working on plans, but I haven’t seen them yet,” Palm said.