Forest Park’s Village Council voted unanimously Sept. 12 to approve a series of contracts that will allow the village to rebuild two of its most worn-down alleys and prepare to rebuild another two.

During the meeting, commissioners approved construction and engineering contracts for two alleys that the village determined were in particularly dire need of repair. The commissioners also approved the engineering study for four alleys it might rehab next year. Village Administrator Moses Amidei told the council that, with supply chain issues and the summer quarry workers strike slowing down construction, it is in Forest Park’s best interest to put out the construction bids as quickly as possible and doing the engineering study would speed up the process.

On Aug. 22, the village council voted to seek Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) funding to cover half of the costs of redoing the north-south alleys in the two-block area bounded by Harrison Street, Marengo Avenue, Harvard Street and Circle Avenue. The funding would allow Forest Park to rebuild the alleys with new permeable medians, which would send rainwater seeping into the ground, reducing the strain on sewers and, with it, flooding of nearby homes.

If the village doesn’t get the funding, it plans to instead use $488,040 to repave the north-south alley between Filmore Avenue, Marengo Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Circle Avenue, and the north-south alley between Polk Street, Lathrop Avenue, Harvard Street and Dunlop Avenue using traditional methods. Since those areas aren’t as flood prone as the area further northeast, the village determined that adding permeable pavement isn’t as much of a priority there.  

During the Sept 12 meeting, the commissioners voted to pay Christopher Burke Engineering, Forest Park’s usual construction engineering services contractor, $73,500 to do the engineering study for all four alleys. That way, whether MWRD funds the green alleys or not, they will be ready to go by the start of 2023.

The construction contract covers two alleys near Forest Park’s east border. The first alley is the north-south alley in a block between Roosevelt Road, Elgin Avenue, 15th Street and Harlem Avenue. The second one is an east-west alley on the block between Adams Street, Elgin Avenue, Madison Street and Harlem Avenue. 

The lowest bid came from the Cicero-based J. Nardulli Concrete, Inc. At $285,760, plus $24,310 to cover the engineering costs, puts the project at $310,070, which is about $10,000 over budget. The staff advised that, given the inflation and construction costs continuing to be affected by supply chain issues, the village should accept the bid.

The plan is for $60,000 of the construction costs to be paid from the village’s sewer fund. The rest will be paid from the VIP fund. 

According to the Burke Engineering memo to the village, the project is expected to be completed by Nov. 18.