Niles approves matching funds for outdoor hub construction

Published 2:01 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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NILES — The City of Niles took a step forward Monday when it comes to its planned public outdoor space in the heart of downtown.

The Niles City Council voted 7-1 to approve up to $305,642 in American Rescue Plan Act Funds to match the Downtown Development Authority/Revitalization and Placemaking grant for the construction of the Forge, a public outdoor space. Michael Thompson casted the dissenting vote.

On November 27, 2023 the City Council approved the allocation of ARPA funds for various projects including setting aside up to $400,000 to match DDA/Niles Main Street RAP funds to create a public outdoor space. The DDA/Niles Main Street accepted the bid of $527,004 from Yoder Construction on June 27. According to council documents, there was an alternate bid item which wasn’t approved by the DDA/Main Street board for use of concrete instead of asphalt for an additional $84,280, bringing the total project cost to 611,284. According to the DDA, durability and cost savings were the primary factors in the change in materials.

The ARPA funds will match RAP funds to cover the cost of the project, which calls for the closure of 2nd Street between East Main and the north alley and for curbs to be installed that would run east-west at the north and south ends of The Forge. The existing roadway will be milled out and pulverized to be used as a base before concrete is paved between the existing curb lines. 

Features will include a fireplace, overhead lighting and a stage area for performances, which would be moved from the existing sidewalk and into the street. The street would be designed as an inverted crown, allowing water to flow toward the center of the street and into a drain.