ManarBUNKER HILL – Central Illinois communities will see more than $509 million in funding for road and bridge projects over the next six years as part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s latest Multi-Year Plan under Rebuild Illinois, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced Tuesday.

“Transportation infrastructure is indispensable to a strong economic future, and the unprecedented health crisis we’re facing makes the timing of the Rebuild Illinois plan all the more significant,” Manar said. “The plan will help our economy rebound by creating thousands of jobs for families set back by COVID-19, while supporting the work and safety of professional truck drivers who are the unsung heroes of our fight against COVID-19.”

Over $509 million in funding will support 172 projects between 2021 and 2026. Of the 172 projects, 37 will begin within the next year. Manar worked in collaboration with county and municipal leaders in his district to identify locations where infrastructure improvements were most needed.

The Multi-Year Plan will invest $21.3 billion statewide over the next six years to improve 3,356 miles of road and 8.4 million square feet of bridge deck.

Passed in 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker’s historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois plan is the largest capital program in state history. In its first year, the program improved 1,706 miles of roadway, and repaired or reconstructed 128 bridges across Illinois.

Manar led negotiation efforts on the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois plan on behalf of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.

Projects included in the program were selected based on objective criteria, such as pavement conditions, traffic volumes and crash history.

Notable projects taking place in Manar’s district in the next 12 months are listed by county below:

Macon

  • 5.94 miles of road rehabilitation on Old Route 36 from Interstate 72 to 0.2 miles west of Harristown Boulevard, and on U.S. 51 from I-72 to 0.3 miles south of Cantrell Road
  • 2.7 miles of pavement rehabilitation on U.S. 51 from I-72 to Illinois 121 in Decatur
  • 0.74 miles of pavement rehabilitation on Illinois 121 and 22nd Street in Decatur from 0.1 mile south of Kile Street to the Garfield Avenue underpass in
  • Decatur
    5.95 miles of pavement reconstruction on I-72 from 4.4 miles west to .3 miles west of the Piatt County line

Christian County

  • 5.5 miles of pavement improvements on U.S. Route 51 from the Shelby County line to one mile north of Assumption

Madison

  • 6.77 miles of pavement rehabilitation on Illinois 159 from the Macoupin County line to 0.3 miles north of Illinois 140

Montgomery

  • 13.11 miles of pavement preservation on the Nokomis Blacktop from Illinois 127 to 0.2 miles east of E. 20th Road

martin luther king

“If our two movements unite their social pioneering initiatives, thirty years from now people will look back on this day and honor those who had the vision to see the full possibilities of modern society and the courage to fight for their realization,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., referring to the Civil Rights and Labor Movements, in a 1965 address at the Illinois State AFL-CIO’s 8th annual convention.

SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 55 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his renowned speech at the Illinois State AFL-CIO’s 8th annual convention, in which he predicted that future generations would look back and honor those who sought to unite the Civil Rights and Labor Movements, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker) is leading an effort to make Dr. King’s words a reality.

Manar filed Senate Joint Resolution 67 this week, calling for a bronze plaque to be placed at the site of the historic address — the soon-to-be restored Illinois State Armory — to commemorate the civil rights icon’s legacy and visit to Springfield.

“Throughout modern history, few other movements have been more effective or more inspiring instruments of justice and equality. The Civil Rights Movement and the Labor Movement intersected through a timeless message by Dr. King that summons the same hope and vision for a stronger society today as it did in 1965, and it all took place in downtown Springfield,” Manar said. “That’s special and something to be celebrated.”

SJR 67 calls for the bronze plaque to be inscribed with the very words Dr. King spoke at the Armory on Oct. 7, 1965 – words that embrace organizational progress, justice, democracy, and a faith in God.

The speech was recorded and archived by the Illinois State AFL-CIO. Manar worked closely with AFL-CIO President Tim Drea to draft the resolution.

“We applaud Senator Manar for his efforts to celebrate the rich history of the Illinois State Armory. An important part of that history came during the Illinois AFL-CIO Convention in 1965, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a message that resonates 55 years later,” said Illinois AFL-CIO President Tim Drea. “Dr. King’s message of the transformational abilities of the Civil Rights Movement and the Labor Movement working together as a coalition of conscience has forever been memorialized in hearts and minds of our leaders. It is our job to ensure that his legacy is championed for generations to come.”

Manar says the memorial would capture a moment that connected Illinois workers with the national Civil Rights Movement during a pivotal era in American history, while also shedding light on the State Armory’s historic significance.

During the 20th century, the Armory was the site of gubernatorial inaugural addresses, speeches and events featuring historic leaders such as Muhammad Ali and Presidents John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman and Richard Nixon.

Illinois’ latest statewide construction plan sets aside $100 million for renovations to the State Armory, with the goal of restoring the facility as a usable office space and venue for conventions, theater productions, art exhibits, and other events.

“The Civil Rights and Labor Movements were both founded on creeds of justice, equality and human rights. They continue to be charged by solidarity among the disenfranchised classes,” Manar said. “These are principles that we should all strive to advance, in policy and practice. This tribute will serve as a reminder of that duty while celebrating this remarkable moment in state and American history.”

SPRINGFIELD – In place of the usual visit to the Capitol, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) held a virtual interview with Sangamon Valley High School senior Alex Mann this week as part of his Future Leaders Program.

A recent graduate of SVHS, Alex is set to attend Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in the fall, where he plans to obtain a joint degree in paralegal studies and pre-law before pursuing a Juris Doctorate. He says his passion for history is what prompted him to pursue a career in law. His interest in the subject was sparked by his 8th grade history teacher and his father, who serves as the manager of the Sangamon Valley Collection at The Lincoln Library.

Manar’s one-on-one interview – a tradition of his Future Leaders program – focused on Alex’s plans for his future, his approach to the unexpected lifestyle changes caused by COVID-19, such as remote learning, and how he remains hopeful about the future in such unpredictable times.

“It’s not hard to see why Alex’s principal nominated him for the program. He’s a bright and well-rounded student-leader. I was most impressed that Alex holds a perspective on our world grounded in historical knowledge,” Manar said. “He fully understands the societal challenges we face and remains optimistic, because he knows that we’ve overcome greater obstacles. It was inspiring to hear that from a 17-year old student.”

Alex was nominated to the program by Sangamon Valley High School principal Jonathan Field.

Manar joins Mayor Hall to tour future Worden Community Center

IMG 0954WORDEN – Village of Worden Mayor Preston Hall welcomed State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) on Wednesday to tour the former Worden Elementary School, which could soon be home to a facility for Madison County residents to host civic events, family activities, and other outings.

Manar is working with the village to secure state grant funds to support Mayor Hall’s plan to repurpose the building as the Worden Community Center.

“As a former mayor of a small, rural town, I know they rarely have the resources to support projects like developing a community center from the ground up, meaning municipal leaders must find creative ways to develop and improve recreational amenities,” Manar said. “Worden is a small town doing big things thanks to Mayor Halls’ resourcefulness and relentless advocacy. The Worden Community Center will be a benefit to local families, youth and senior organizations, and the village for decades.”

“This Community Center project will not only preserve the memories of many Worden residents, but it will create new memories for many years to come,” Mayor Hall said. “The funds secured for this project will help bring life back to a building that was built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration in the center of our town. We are very thankful for the senator’s effort in securing these funds and for his understanding of the importance of helping small towns in his district that often get overlooked in favor of bigger towns.”

After Worden merged into the Edwardsville Public School District, the facility was acquired last year by the Village of Worden.

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