Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

Online edition –>

A plan to resurface a section of Circle Avenue using some $1 million in combined federal and local cash was finalized last week when the village council passed a resolution approving the project.

The resurfacing of Circle Avenue will stretch from Harrison Street to Harlem Avenue when the project begins next year. There are no firm start and finish dates just yet, but a timeline of the project predicts that it will last no longer than July 2012.

Federal money made available by the Illinois Department of Transportation will fund most of the project. IDOT will kick in $827,020 and the village will be responsible for $206,755, according to an IDOT application.

Those federal dollars stem from a Federal Highway Administration program. And when the resurfacing begins in 2012, it will be the second IDOT project the village has undertaken in as many years.

During the fall, the village completed the same type of project on Harrison Street, between Harlem and Desplaines avenues.

Both projects were over two years in the making, Mayor Anthony Calderone said.

In 2009, the village asked that IDOT classify the streets in the project areas as Federal Aid Urban, or FAU roads. Basically, such streets are arterial routes that see a significant amount of traffic.

In a 2009 memo, Calderone noted that sections of Harrison Street and Circle Avenue in these project areas, saw 5,000 to 8,000 cars every day. Thus, he wrote, they should be reclassified FAU streets.

“Once routes are designated as FAU, they become eligible for federal transportation dollars,” Calderone said.

Both sections of Harrison and Circle were classified as FAU routes later that year, and last January, the village applied for federal funds to do the resurfacing.

Next up, IDOT officials will hold a preconstruction meeting with the village to discuss the project, and then go to public bid to find a contractor to do the work.

Before the village board approved the project at last week’s meeting, Commissioner Rory Hoskins said parents of school children need to be notified when the construction occurs, to ensure that kids walking to and from classes are safe. Grant White and Garfield elementary schools are in proximity to the project area.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian said District 91 officials will be included in meetings when the project begins, and he added that the information will be widely disseminated.

“Between hand-delivered fliers, the press and the [village’s] website, it’ll be difficult to not know we’re doing Circle,” Gillian said.

Speaking on the phone, Calderone said the project’s impact on residents would likely be minimal. He said the biggest burden would probably be that some people might not be able to park on Circle Avenue during the day, when construction is happening.

As the project moves along, the village will release more details, he said.