CARROLLTON - Carrollton’s Courthouse Square, the grounds of the Greene County Courthouse at 519 N. Main St. in Carrollton, is receiving $1.9 million in improvements as part of the Rebuild Illinois Downtowns and Main Streets Capital program.

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Carrollton Mayor Mike Snyder said improvements to be made include new parking areas on the Square’s southern and eastern sides, improved lighting and electricity for festivals and a redesigned handicap parking area meant to make the courthouse more accessible.

Carrollton was recently announced as a recipient of the grant on Monday during a presentation from J.B. Pritzker at AltonWorks in Alton. Snyder said the city has not yet received the grant funding, so start and completion dates for the project have not yet been determined.

The Carrollton Square Initiative is a community organization that formed years ago to “start a conversation” in Carrollton about where improvements could be made around town and ways to secure grant funding, according to board member Nick Graham. He said the level of collaboration that has occurred around this project is as unique as the Square itself.

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“The Square’s a unique spot in the sense that the city owns part of it, the county owns part of it and then obviously private business owners [are] around it,” Graham said. “You see private individuals, you see the Carrolton Square Initiative, you see the City Council, you see the County Board all working together to make this thing happen - it doesn’t happen that often in a town of 2,500 people, I’ll say that.”

Snyder said he reached out to the organization shortly after becoming Mayor and that these improvements are the culmination of a “joint effort” between several local entities.

“This was a joint effort between the city, the county, and [Carrollton Square Initiative] - we all met and worked together on this,” Snyder said. “The [Carrollton Square Initiative] had a plan that they’ve had together for a while of improvements, so after I took office, I spoke with them and said I would have my hand out to them, and we all worked together to see what we can do. It was a joint effort and I applaud their efforts.”

Snyder said he also appreciated the help of County Board member Earlene Castleberry, and Jennifer Russell with the Greene County Extension Office, as well as engineering firms Benton & Associates and Oates Associates.

Graham added that this funding will go especially far in a small town like Carrollton.

“To be awarded the grant is a pretty big home run for the area … you put that kind of money in a small town, it really can make a visible impact and a change,” Graham said. “Never bet against a small town with big dreams.”

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