Construction zone

Carol Roehm|Commercial-NewsA half-dozen workers from Lawrence Building Company and Kaiser Electrical Contractors work on the Speedway gas station in Oakwood that is expected to open in November.

OAKWOOD – Motorists on Interstate 74 most likely have noticed the newest addition to Oakwood’s skyline: A sign for a new Speedway gas station.

“It’s going to be a nice addition to the community,” Oakwood Mayor Clay Woodard said. “We’ll get sales tax from it, and it’s a large tax we’ll receive.

“Anytime we can broaden the tax base, that’s a good thing,” he said.

The Speedway gas station, which is expected to open in November, isn’t the only development in the works in Oakwood ... or in Fithian, for that matter.

In June, the state legislature passed a $45 billion “Rebuild Illinois” capital bill — which is being partly funded by Illinois’ gas tax increase that went into effect July 1 — to support improvement projects across the state.

Some of the local projects that will benefit from the state bill are $2.2 million for the renovation of Clock Tower and the ornamental horticulture building at Danville Area Community College and $50,000 for improvements at Zamberletti Park in Westville.

Woodard said his village expects to receive $50,000 from the state that will be used as a down payment on the village’s new community center and village hall that will be built at the former IGA site on South Scott Street. The shuttered grocery store was demolished in April 2018.

“We should realize those funds in about a year,” Woodard said.

The community center plans, however, are being modified after architect estimates for the project came in too high, Woodard said.

“Originally, when we spoke with the architect, the estimate was $750,000, which is way too much,” he said. “We’ve been downsizing and moving areas around and making areas smaller.”

Woodard said the village hopes to lower the cost of the project to around $500,000.

For now, the community center plan is on the back burner so the village can concentrate its efforts on a much-needed storm water project that will be located near the new Speedway gas station.

“Once the storm water project near Speedway is complete, we’ll focus on the community center,” Woodard said. “We have to wait for the state to sell the bonds (for the capital bill) anyway.”

Woodard is eager for Oakwood to have a community center and new village hall.

“It’s an investment in the community,” he said. “A lot of communities have a community center and we don’t.”

Fithian Mayor John Harrison said his village is supposed to receive $30,000 from the state capital bill that will be put toward additional improvements at Brentlinger Park.

“The playground equipment has gotten old and unsafe,” he said.

Harrison said the village has been making improvements at the park a little at a time but hopes to raise enough money through a Labor Day gun-or-cash raffle to finish collecting half of the $56,000 it needs to be eligible to apply for a matching grant.

“If we’re successful with that, we’ll be able to get the grant,” he said of the drawing. “We’re close to half the money we need to apply for the grant.”

Harrison said the village is proceeding with the park improvements on its own despite learning that it would receive funding from the state.

“We’re not sure when it’s going to get here, so we’re going along as planned,” Harrison said.

“We already have a nice ball diamond, and the Little League raised money for a new scoreboard,” he said, adding the park also features a basketball court and pavilion with picnic tables.

FITHIAN FUNDS

Tickets are being sold now for the Village of Fithian’s gun-or-cash drawing on Labor Day to raise funds for new playground equipment at Brentlinger Park.

Tickets are $20 each and are available at The Hideaway Slots, 101 N. Jefferson St., Fithian, and at BFF Firearms, 50 S. College St., Danville.

The drawing is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2, at The Hideaway Slots. People do not need to be present to win.

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