Twenty business owners and community leaders crowded into the board room at Forest Park National Bank, Thursday morning, to hear Village Administrator Tim Gillian, Director of Public Works John Doss, and Jim Amelio, representing Christopher Burke Engineering, unveil a plan to redo Madison Street from Harlem west to Desplaines in 2016.

The presenters anticipate that the project will begin next April and be completed in June. The work will include:

  • Resurfacing the street (grinding down the present paving 2.25 inches and applying binder and surface coats of asphalt)
  • Spot curb, sidewalk, and brick paver repairs
  • Removal of trip hazards
  • Removal of planter boxes to be replaced by new landscaping pots
  • Upgrading stop signs

Amelio said the raised crosswalk at Constitution Court seems to have accomplished its two objectives — to slow traffic and to make pedestrian crossing safer.

“The village plans to keep that raised crosswalk with this project,” he added, “and is seeking input on whether or not to create additional locations. Potential additional locations are: Ferdinand Avenue, Beloit Avenue, Marengo Avenue, and Elgin Avenue.”

Gillian assured the merchants, unlike the project that has left Forest Park’s main business street west of Desplaines torn up all summer, forcing the business owners along that part of Madison Street to grin and bear it, the street redo scheduled for next spring will be much less intrusive to business.

“We realize that parking along Madison Street is extremely valuable,” he said. “Therefore we plan to maintain parking along one side of the street throughout the project. There will be only two days when there will be no parking at all — on days that the binder and surface courses of asphalt are installed.”

“As stakeholders in the project,” he added, “we want to inform you of the project and also solicit your input.” The consensus of the whole group seemed to be that input would be channeled through Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

According to Amelio, the sequence of steps in the project are:

1) Finalize plans by Oct. 12

2) Solicit contractors

3) Award contracts in January

4) Send out construction notices and

5) Start construction in April 2016.

Gillian expressed frustration with the state of Illinois in general and the Illinois Dept. of Transportation in particular.

“The state is really messing with us,” he said. “Grants have been ‘suspended’ meaning the village may lose $1 million and the parks $3.5 million. The money for this project is not coming from the state but from another source, the Mayor’s Caucus Fund.”

He added that the village also plans to redo all the side parking lots — either resurface or reseal them — and to power-wash the sidewalks.

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