Dixon receives grant for pedestrian bridge, park improvements

Dixon's riverfront redevelopment project got a huge boost this week when the City received a $12 million federal grant to build a pedestrian bridge across the Rock River.

Project ROCK (Revitalizing Opportunities for the Community and Kids!) is the last phase of the Riverfront Master Plan, which the City created 20 years ago. The federal grant is through the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program.

"We are so excited and grateful for this award," Dixon City Manager Danny Langloss said. "The RAISE grant will allow us to complete the fourth and final phase of the City of Dixon Riverfront Masterplan. This is truly transformational for our community."

Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced the grant Tuesday in a news release. The money will help fund construction of a 2.8-mile Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant multiuse path and pedestrian bridge using abandoned Illinois Central Railroad piers. It also includes resurfacing nearly 1 mile of Page Drive in Page Park.

"Everyone should be able to access public spaces in this country, and this infusion of federal funding will go a long way towards finally making Dixon and its riverfront ADA-complaint so more residents can fully enjoy their community while supporting good-paying jobs right here in our state," Duckworth said in a news release. "I'll keep working with Senator Durbin to make sure Dixon and communities all across Illinois receive the federal support they need and deserve."

Fehr Graham has been a longtime partner with the City of Dixon and helped secure funding. The firm is also helping the City wrap up a large riverfront remediation projecton the former Dixon Iron & Metal Company site. Bridge construction is expected to start in 2023.

"This federal funding will create a safer and more accessible experience for Dixon residents and visitors," Durbin said in the news release. "Senator Duckworth and I are proud to support this improvement project, and will continue advocating for strong investments in Illinois' infrastructure improvement projects."

This project is the fourth and final phase of the City of Dixon Riverfront Master Plan originally formed 20 years ago. Plans for the bridge include lookouts and rest stops, with a design focus on recreation and leisure.

This federal grant award comes through the U.S. DOT's RAISE grant program, which invests in state, local, multimodel and multijurisdictional road, rail, transit and port projects that economically empower communities, update infrastructure and create jobs. RAISE grants replaced the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants of the Trump administration.