Forest Park residents will encounter more road construction projects than usual in 2017, according to the proposed infrastructure construction plan presented at the Dec. 19 village council meeting.

In addition to the long-anticipated Roosevelt Road reconstruction and streetscape project, Village Engineer Jim Amelio detailed the annual alley improvement program, annual street resurfacing program, the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission project on Fillmore Street and resurfacing of a stretch of Madison Street.

The Roosevelt Road project will include pavement resurfacing between Harlem and Desplaines avenues; pedestrian bump-outs at all intersections; additional streetscape features at the bump-out locations, including landscaped planters, benches, trash receptacles and stamped/colored pedestrian crosswalks; landscaped median islands; and replacement of all street lighting with decorative street lighting.

The $4.75 million project cost will be covered by $2.46 million from the tax increment financing (TIF) fund and a $2.29 million grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

Mayor Calderone called the project “a dream for 17 years,” which started to become a reality three or four years ago. He credited former Gov. Pat Quinn with providing the grant funds, noting he personally lobbied Quinn for the funds.

Calderone said at the meeting that village officials had to address a last-minute hiccup that could have jeopardized the project.

When doing the engineering preparation work for the project, IDOT officials discovered that the right turn lanes from Roosevelt into Portillo’s and the mall east of Desplaines were not public property. They and the sidewalks were owned by Living Word Ministries, which owns the Forest Park Mall, and apparently were never transferred going back to the time when the property was owned by the federal government. Because IDOT cannot legally do work on private property, the project could have faced changes or discontinuation.

Calderone said he brought the dilemma to the attention of Rev. Bill Winston of Living Word Ministries, who he said promised to “put his team on it” to convey the property.

“After the meeting, they went to work,” Calderone continued. “By the end of the day, we had the donation.”

Alleys to be resurfaced are in the 7400 to 7800 blocks between Roosevelt and Fillmore Avenue; the 200 block between Elgin Avenue and Harlem; the 300 block between Marengo Avenue and Elgin; the 7700 block between Wilcox and Jackson avenues; and the 1200 block between Circle Avenue and Marengo. The project also will include sidewalk and sewer work at various locations throughout the village.

The project’s estimated cost of $1.83 million will be paid with $750,000 from the Village Improvement Program (VIP) fund, $175,000 from the water fund and $930,000 from the Roosevelt Road TIF fund. Village officials have said in previous years that they attempt to resurface 4-6 alleys each summer with the number determined by the budget.

Streets to be resurfaced are Washington Avenue from Marengo to Harlem and the 400 to 600 blocks of Hannah Avenue. The project also includes replacing the 4-inch water main in the 400 and 500 blocks of Hannah with an 8-inch water main; asphalt grinding and overlay of a T-alley behind Forest Park Village Hall; and roadway patching at various locations. Amelio said Monday he anticipates a greater need for pothole patching in the spring if the remaining winter months are as harsh as December has been.

The project’s estimated cost of $1 million will be paid with $550,000 from the VIP fund and $450,000 from the water fund.

Although drivers will suffer the effects of the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission and Madison Street Resurfacing projects, the village will not suffer any financial drain. The water commission will cover all costs of that project and the Madison Street resurfacing project cost will be paid by IDOT. 

The water commission project, which began earlier this year in Oak Park, involves the installation of a 12,100-foot-long, 36-inch ductile iron water main from Harlem to Hannah, where it will connect with an existing 20-inch pipe owned by the water commission. The $17 million project is designed to provide a supplemental water main for the water commission, whose principal water supply comes via a pipe built in 1938, which is nearing the end of its useful life.

The water commission, which supplies water to Brookfield, North Riverside, Lyons and LaGrange Park, wants an emergency supply line in case any portion of the old concrete water main fails or if service needs to be interrupted to make repairs to it.

Amelio said Fillmore will remain a brick street, so the roadway will have to be painstakingly removed and then replaced by hand. 

He also noted that the entire length of Madison will have been resurfaced by the end of the 2017 project, coming on the heels of the Madison Street east project earlier this year and the Madison Street west project in 2015.   

Other than taking place in 2017, primarily the summer months, exact schedules for any projects are not yet known. IDOT is expected to let contracts for the Roosevelt Road project Jan. 20.

Concerns expressed by commissioners Rachell Entler and Tom Mannix about construction work on Fillmore and Roosevelt at the same time were addressed by Amelio and Village Administrator Tim Gillian.

Amelio said officials would try to start alley work near Roosevelt first and work on Roosevelt before work starts on Fillmore. Gillian added that steps are being taken to ensure the village is involved in the water commission project but noted he expects that project to take all summer.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Calderone said. “It’s going to be a mess.”