The Village of Forest Park will use the upcoming resurfacing of the section of Jackson Boulevard between Des Plaines Avenue and Madison Street to do water main replacement, while pushing back the planned water main replacement along the 800-900 blocks of Ferdinand Avenue until 2023.
During the April 25 meeting of the Forest Park Village Council, Village Administrator Moses Amidei updated commissioners on the status of the infrastructure projects planned for 2022 and 2023. He recommended holding off on water main projects because, while the state law passed last year requires Forest Park to replace lead pipes within the next 20 years, the village is trying to figure out how much state and federal funding it would be able to get to offset some of the costs.
Amidei did recommend going ahead with replacing the lead lines on Jackson Boulevard, since the conditions of the federal grant that is partially funding it requires the village to complete it this year, and it made more sense to take care of the pipes while the street was already being repaired.
Other major projects in the plan include repaving two alleys, developing the design for new bike racks at Harlem and Forest Park Blue Line el stations, improving the Van Buren Street Multi-Use Path, which connects the Illinois Prairie Path to the Forest Park el station, painting the North water tower and repaving work at the north and south towers.
The one project those fate remains up in the air is the proposal to repave a village parking lot at 510 Des Plaines Ave. with permeable pavement. Amidei told the Review that that village is still looking for funding to cover the higher-than-expected bids, and if it can’t find funding by the end of May, the project will most likely be cancelled.
The Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, which took effect at the start of 2022, requires all Illinois municipalities to develop a plan on how to remove lead water lines by April 15, 2024, and act on the plan within the time limit set based on how many lead pipes a municipality has. And while before, municipalities only had to replace the lead lines up to the shut-off valve at the property line, they now have to replace the pipes all the way up to the building itself.
According to a 2020 village report, the most recent data available on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency website, as of 2019 Forest Park had 1,849 lead lines.
Amidei told the commissioners that Forest Park applied for $4 million in state funding to help with the lead line replacement, but he expected “at least $20 million of work between now and the next 22 years.”
On April 15, the village went to bid for a stormwater and wastewater separation project on the section of 15th Street between Circle and Marengo avenues. Amidei said that, while that project will proceed, he recommended pushing the Ferdinand service line replacement project, which doesn’t have a cost estimate yet, back to 2023, when the village has a better understanding of how much state and federal funding it might get.
The resurfacing portion of the Jackson Boulevard project will cost $568,000, with $418,000 of it coming from a federal Surface Transportation Program grant. The lead service replacement portion will be funded with $80,000 from the village water fund.
Amidei said there are four alleys that are in particularly dire condition. He proposed taking on two this year – an east-west alley directly south of Madison Street, between Elgin and Harlem avenues, and a north-south north of Roosevelt Road, between Elgin, Harlem and Filmore.
Other projects face jurisdictional issues. Amidei said the $1.5 million north water tower repainting project is still awaiting CTA approval. The $540,000 worth of Van Buren Street Multi-Use Path improvements, $247,500 of which come from the Invest in Cook Grant, will require the village to negotiate with the Altenheim retirement community, since the path crosses a portion of its property.
Forest Park also planned to repave the village owned-parking lot at 510 Des Plaines Ave. The project was originally estimated to cost $288,000, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) previously agreed to cover $201,600 of that cost. But the lowest bid came in at $345,000, and MWRD declined to increase its share. During the Feb. 14 meeting, the council tabled the issue as the village looks at whether it can get funding through the federal Water Resources Development Act.
Amidei said that, while the project is currently part of the plan, the council will vote on whether to proceed at either May 9 or May 23 meeting.