Long Grove hopeful about $250,000 state grant to help fix covered bridge
Long Grove Village President Bill Jacob says he's optimistic the town will receive $250,000 from the state to help repair the iconic downtown covered bridge damaged over the summer when a truck slammed into it.
"It's not official yet," he said. "We still have to apply. We've got to go through the process, but it's a very specific grant with some money put aside for these kinds of things. And we believe that we will see that funding to be used toward the renovation of the bridge."
State Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods said Thursday the funding would come from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Long Grove officials contacted his office to inquire about the funding, he said.
Village Engineer Geoff Perry is working on a grant application that must be filed by Wednesday. Jacob said he has every reason to believe Long Grove will receive the $250,000.
Two weeks after landing on the National Register of Historic Places, the one-lane Robert Parker Coffin Road covered bridge was hit June 27 by a rented box truck. It was closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic for more than two months as a result.
Minus its timber cover, the bridge reopened to traffic in mid-September. Vertical wooden posts and two horizontal beams remain in place to serve as temporary clearance bars on the height- and weight-restricted span over Buffalo Creek.
With the cover off, Perry said, the village can more easily pursue other repairs, including replacing limestone abutments supporting the span over Buffalo Creek and repainting the steel superstructure. A fresh cover would follow.
An exact cost has yet to be determined. Jacob said enough funding could be there next year if the village receives the $250,000 grant, coupled with a possible donation from the Long Grove Historical Society and money already set aside for bridge work.
"I think that the good news, out of this whole thing, is we've taken a bad situation and are turning it into something positive," Jacob said.
McConchie said his staff checked a list and found a potential grant meant for road construction and similar projects that seems to fit Long Grove's needs.
"We're able to make sure those grant funds are used intelligently in the district for some of the most important needs," McConchie said.
Constructed in 1906 by the Joliet Bridge and Iron Co., the downtown Long Grove span is a rare surviving example of a pin-connected pony truss bridge built for an urban setting, according to documents submitted for the national landmark process.