Elmwood set to get a face-lift

By Denise Jackson

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 10:42 PM CDT

ELMWOOD, Ill. -- More than two years after a tornado devastated downtown Elmwood there are more signs that the city is rebounding.

Beginning this Spring, downtown Elmwood will shine a little brighter at night and pedestrians will navigate sidewalks easier.

"The sidewalks there they are sort of two level with the stairs. So, anytime you touch sidewalks you have to make sure they are ADA accessible. The whole sidewalks will be in compliance with accessibility codes," said project engineer George Ghareeb.

George Ghareeb said new sidewalks, with rails and ramps will be installed as part of $2 million streets-cape program provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The timing could not be better for restaurant owner Shawn Jones who recently finished remodeling his eatery which opened a year and a half ago.

"We have a great support from the people locally out here in Elmwood and in this area. We're looking for people from Peoria and Galesburg to realize that Elmwood's not that far away and it's a beautiful community and a great place to spend the day with the family," she said.

Since a tornado devastated downtown Elmwood in June of 2010, recovery has been slow. It did not stop Sarah Carter from opening a hardware store a year ago.

"Everything helps all the businesses. If you walk out the front of the store I've got this nice little wrought iron fence and they're gonna put benches and beautiful lights. It brings people downtown," she said.

Restaurant patron Pat Vaughan says it will be nice to see the lights on downtown again.

"One thing I've really missed is the lights because at Christmas we always had banners hanging up from each light post and this year we couldn't do that cause there was no light post, so we put our happy holidays in the middle of the park," said Vaughan.

With the beautification project in the works, residents and business owners hope it will bring not only visitors but more companies to the community.

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