Big grant money is on the way to dozens of towns in Illinois to help make it safer for children who walk or bike to school.

On Wednesday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation announced they are splitting $12.3 million of federal funding among 57 towns in the state to help improve sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals near schools. It’s part of the state’s Safe Routes to School program, which has awarded grants to towns across Illinois since 2005.

Five of the 57 towns receiving grant money are in the Quad Cities area, with a total of seven schools impacted. The towns getting grants are Rock Island, Moline, Galesburg, Aledo and Kewanee. Each of the five towns received the maximum possible grant amount, with $250,000 for each town.

Here’s a breakdown of where the grant money is going.

Rock Island:

  • One school impacted: Denkmann Elementary School.
  • Improvements will be made to three pedestrian routes near the school, with new ramps and sidewalks being added along 20th Avenue, 41st Street and 22nd Avenue.


  • One school impacted: Lincoln-Irving Elementary School.
  • Sidewalks and crosswalks surrounding the school will be replaced or updated.
  • New ramps and crosswalks will be installed at all school intersections within project limits.
  • Upgraded traffic signals will be installed at 16th Avenue and 10th Street intersections.


  • Two schools impacted: King Elementary School and Lombard Middle School.
  • Sidewalks will be improved, including the removal of sidewalk gaps.


  • Two schools impacted: Apollo Elementary School and Mercer County Intermediate School.
  • A new sidewalk will be added on South 6th Street, stretching from SE 8th Avenue to SW 3rd Avenue, providing pedestrian connection from east to west of town.
  • Sidewalk gaps will be eliminated.


  • One school impacted: Belle Alexander Elementary School.
  • Access to school from large residential areas without sidewalks will be improved, including Prairie Green Apartments.

Some superintendents reacted to the announcement of the grant money Wednesday, including John Asplund, superintendent of Galesburg CUSD #205, who said the grants promote health and safety.

“We are thankful that there is a commitment to provide a safe route for children to and from school,” Asplund said. We know not every parent can transport their children to school and some students would prefer to walk. It is also a healthy alternative to getting to school and this grant improves the safety of how they do that.”

To view the full list of the 57 towns receiving grant money, visit here.

For more information on the Safe Routes to School program, visit here.