The Frankfort City Council has put the final stamp on an application for a costly railroad overpass project.
The city – in partnership with Clinton County – is hoping for money from the state’s Local Trax Program, a matching grant fund designed to separate railroads from roadways. The overpass is estimated to cost at least $10 million. If awarded the grant money, the city and county would be responsible for contributing about $1 million apiece, with the state picking up the remaining 80-percent of the cost.
City Councilman Steve Beardsley suggested upping the local percentage to 21-percent, which he feels could sweeten that portion of Frankfort and Clinton County’s application.
“It gives us a little more ammunition when we’re trying to get some community support from some of the industries that maybe they need to help us a little with this,” Beardsley says. “Because we went on a limb for them to get the application in that high.”
Theoretically, that might make the city’s application stronger. One of the concerns raised during the informational meetings was how Frankfort’s request would measure up to others around the state.
Councilman Eric Woods says one of his concerns is the scope of the project, and what happens if it exceeds the amount the city can afford. But engineers hired to create a preliminary design of the overpass claim they’ve adjusted the price toward the high end, just in case.
Woods says he feels the cost is worth the possible payback to the city.
“I’m looking ahead at 20 years. I think 20 years from now, if we didn’t do this, we would probably regret it,” Woods says. “Because I do think the city is going to grow. I think that’s going to be a more-used thoroughfare.”
The Frankfort City Council, Clinton County Council, Board of Works and County Commissioners all unanimously passed resolutions in support of the application.