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The village’s public works department is attempting to put its recent turmoil behind it and shift its attention to the beginning of work on the Village Improvement Plan (VIP), which will consist of a series of street and alley improvements to begin this week and continue through spring 2006.

A preconstruction meeting was held last Wednesday to coordinate the project’s initial stages. Among those attending were Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvement Patrick Doolin, Director of Public Works Bob Kutak, and Construction Manager Mike Sterk of Christopher Burke Engineering as well as representatives from the three contractors working on the project.

Cerniglia Company of Melrose Park will handle streets and utility construction, Johnson Paving of Arlington Heights will work on street resurfacing, and Kings Point General Cement of Bensenville will be responsible for alley reconstruction.

“It’s a massive project and there are going to be some inconveniences,” said Doolin, adding that “communication is key.”

Funding for the project will come from the recent sales tax referendum which will contribute half of the one percent tax to finance the sale of bonds covering the cost of the work.

The project is divided into three phases, the first of which will include infrastructure improvements of eight streets and 19 alleys and will begin in mid-September.

The total cost will come in between $10-11 million, with phase 1 costing $5,902,226.

Sterk said that residents will be notified at least two weeks in advance if their alley will be torn up, and that no more than three alleys would be torn up at one time throughout the project.

He said that the village would work with the relevant companies to resolve any potential conflicts with garbage and waste hauling.

Notices already sent include a water main installation on Circle Avenue beginning Sept. 12. Workers will begin at Roosevelt Road and work north. Affected roadways will be closed to traffic during the work day, and parking will not be permitted between 6:45 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Street pavings will begin this week on Adams from Ferdinand to Hannah, Belvidere from Franklin to Randolph, Elgin from Randolph to Madison, Lathrop from Harvard to Filmore, and Thomas from Adams to Jackson.

These projects are forecasted to be completed by Nov. 23, and roads will remain open to traffic during the work.

Alley replacements already planned include the Circle-Marengo Alley and the Hannah-Circle Alley from Harvard to Lexington the week of Sept. 19, and construction will last about a month.

Sterk said that some parking spaces may be unavailable for a couple days during this phase, but that residents would be notified at least a week in advance and special accommodations would be made for the elderly and disabled.

The village will likely provide blanket parking permits to residents of affected areas so that they can park elsewhere, he said.

After the meeting, Doolin said he is concerned that overseeing the project will require experience that is “beyond Bob (Kutak’s) level,” though he said day to day management will mostly be handled by Christopher Burke Engineering.

Doolin’s attempt to hire a new public works director was recently voted down by Village Council members who felt Kutak, who has filled the position on an interim basis for the last 15 months, should be allowed to continue his role.

Mayor Anthony Calderone stuck up for Kutak, stating that “Bob will always do his job.”

A map of the areas to be affected and weekly construction updates can be found at www.forestparkvip.org or at village hall.