Forest Park officials on July 8 put the wheels in motion for a major infrastructure project on the north end of the village.

At the village council meeting that evening, officials voted 5-0 to approve the specifications and bid package for the $2.1 million multi-faceted Brown Street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Improvements Project.

The project includes televising and cleaning the sewers and developing and implementing a sewer repair/lining program from information gleaned from the televising; replacing a six-inch water main on Circle Avenue, from Harlem Avenue to Franklin Street, with an eight-inch water main; a sewer separation project that would redirect storm water from the existing combined sewer; sidewalk repairs and pavement patching; and resurfacing the entire area. 

Security measures around the north water tower at 7421 Franklin and a gateway sign on Harlem Avenue also were being considered but will be addressed on future projects.

“This is an exciting project for us,” Mayor Rory Hoskins said, noting the storm sewer separation component of the project will help mitigate flooding, which is a goal of village officials.

The entire cost of the project, estimated at $2,142,869, will be covered by money from the TIF fund, which has $4.6 million available. 

The Brown Street TIF District was created in 2000 and will expire in 2023. The district includes primarily the area between Central Avenue, the village’s northern border, and Franklin Street, and between Harlem and Lathrop avenues.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian said the village planned to start soliciting for bids last week with bid opening scheduled for July 25. He added he hopes to present a recommendation on awarding the contract for the project to the village council at the August 12 meeting with construction to begin in the fall. 

Areas that will be affected are the 7500 block of Brown Street; 000 block of Marengo Avenue; 000-100 blocks of Elgin Avenue; 7200-7400 blocks of Franklin; and 7200-7300 blocks of Circle. 

Gillian noted the amount of time required for the project will not allow for completion in 2019. He said the project will continue as long as weather permits, with construction suspended until the spring. When the project resumes will depend on the weather. 

He said contractors will temporarily repave areas before closing down the project for the winter, adding, “We won’t leave any open excavations.”