Work on McHenry Riverwalk extension to finish in mid-May

McHENRY – The newest section of the McHenry Riverwalk will be open to the public in mid-May, a Riverwalk Foundation representative said.

The city of McHenry hired Landmark Contractors Inc. of Huntley to build the extension, which will consist of a boardwalk, paver stones and concrete sidewalk, and run from where it currently ends at Miller Point to the other side of the Route 120 bridge.

The work, which cost about $314,000, as well as the engineering costs were paid for by the Riverwalk Foundation.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors asked the city late last year to contribute $400,000 to the next phase, which would cost about $1.2 to $1.3 million and would take the Riverwalk to Pearl Street and ultimately to Weber Park.

But while the Riverwalk continues to be on the city’s radar, there wasn’t money in this year’s budget to make a contribution like that, City Administrator Derik Morefield said.

“The city at this point just doesn’t have the money to do that,” said John Smith, the president of the foundation’s Board of Directors. “It’s just not a good time from a budget standpoint. We understood that. There’s a lot that needs to be done in the city.”

The Riverwalk Foundation is looking into different forms of fundraising to cover the next phase of the extension, Smith said.

However, the city does plan on diverting unused money from its sidewalk program to replace the plain concrete sidewalk at city-owned Miller Point with a walkway that matches the existing Riverwalk.

The work is set to be done in conjunction with the construction of a public pier at the property, which is the site of the former Dobyns House.

“It’s not $400,000, but it’s at least something to make it look complete and tie it into the pier,” Morefield said.

The McHenry City Council also is set to vote on a contract that would hire M.J. Munaretto & Co. as the real estate broker for the Miller Point property with the goal of selling it to a developer.

“It’s the focal piece of the Riverwalk,” Smith said. “That’s our big focus.”

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