March 2, 2012

Center City area also facing road projects this season

This is a rendering for the city of Elgin of the
Riverside Drive Promenade as envisioned
by Hitchcock Design Group.
By Ted Schnell • BocaJump | March 2, 2012
Expect Elgin’s Center City to be a busy place as the weather turns warmer — there are a handful of road construction projects on the way, both directly downtown and in the immediate area.
Featuring prominently in the work will be the $10 million Riverside Drive Promenade project, which includes demolishing the Riverside Drive parking deck and transforming that section of riverfront into the Riverside Drive Promenade. City engineer Joe Evers said Thursday work on the project should get under way in June or July and extend into 2013.
Much of the project is funded by an $8 million Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant, which the state signed off on in December. The promenade is a key part of Elgin’s riverfront revitalization effort and is intended to encourage more redevelopment, public space and transportation projects.
Riverside Drive Promenade involves the complete redevelopment of the Riverside Drive right-of-way and the adjacent parking deck into an urban riverfront plaza connected to Festival Park. It will create a large urban park right next to the downtown retail corridor with the goal of adding new commercial buildings to nearby empty lots.
>> Downtown streetscape resumes
In 2010, the city wrapped up Phase IV of what was intended to be a five-phase Central Business District Streetscape and Watermain Project to upgrade the downtown infrastructure — replacing water mains, sewers and rebuilding streets and amenities. The project upended downtown streets for several years, which discouraged some from going into the Center City at all and creating economic pressures on the area’s merchants. The city took a year off to give merchants a break, but Evers said it is time to resume, albeit on a less-extensive scale than in years past.
This year’s $590,800 Phase V will target Spring Street between Kimball and Division streets, and Dexter Court between Douglas Avenue and Center Street. The work, he said, should run from June into December, and likely will resume for a while in 2013.
But there still will be more phases to follow, Evers said. Last week, he told the Elgin City Council the Central Business District Streetscape and Watermain Project now includes three more phases in the years ahead:
  • Phase VI will involve the Highland Avenue and Chicago Street bridges;
  • Phase VII is the Illinois 31 corridor;
  • Phase VIII will focus on alleyways and DuPage Court.
Another highlight of this year’s phase: It will kick off the four-year conversion of the city’s Center City street lighting to LED lighting. Elgin management analyst Aaron Cosentino said last week that while the initial costs of the conversion are higher, the new, brighter and energy-efficient LED lights will prove a significant savings to the city in the long run.
>> Kimball Street resurfacing
Kimball Street, from Route 31 to Dundee Avenue, also is to get a makeover this year. Evers said the resurfacing project is scheduled to start in June and end in July. Two lanes of traffic will remain open during the project. The city is receiving $500,000 in federal funding toward the cost of the $1,012,590 project.
>> Center and Seneca streets rehabilitation
North of the downtown, work began this week on then Center and Seneca Streets Area Rehabilitation project, Evers said. Work on the area is expected to conclude in June. The project will improve water mains, sanitary and storm sewers, curbs, gutters, and pavement infrastructure on Center and Seneca streets and on several adjacent side streets.
The City Council last week approved an amendment to the $245,965 professional services agreement on the project with Hampton Lenzini and Renwick, and awarded the construction contract to Triggi Construction Company Inc. of West Chicago for $1,847,258.

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