Unfinished park path upsets residents in Algonquin neighborhood

ALGONQUIN – A village decision to not finish repaving part of a path in James B. Wood Park has left nearby residents upset.

The village wanted to repair the path as part of the Bunker Hill Drive resurfacing project. However, when workers began removing the path around the lake of the park, they found it needed more work than originally expected.

The $40,000 to $45,000 higher price tag led the village to decide to just put seed down and let grass grow in place of the part of the path that went around the lake of the park. The village will hold off on finishing repaving the path until it can find money in its capital budget, even if it means waiting four to five years.

Resident Wayne Guilbeau who represented about 20 to 30 residents in the neighborhood at the village's Committee of the Whole meeting earlier this week, said residents were disappointed in the decision.

The neighborhood around the park doesn't have sidewalks, and the path serves as a place to walk dogs, for youngsters to ride bicycles, among other things, without having to be on the street.

"Soiling and seeding the path will only lead to a broken down mud path," Guilbeau said.

The path was in such bad shape and had been included on the village's long-range plan to be fixed, said Public Works Director Robert Mitchard.

"We did our best effort to get this done as part of this project rather than defer it longer because it was in such bad shape," Mitchard said. "It was in bad shape because of the way it was originally installed."

Mitchard added that 60 percent of the paved path, the portion that doesn't around the lake in the park, is still in place.

"There are much more regional, very important projects that need to be considered before this one," Mitchard said. "It was a difficult decision. I looked at all kinds of alternatives to get this path in. Nothing seemed plausible or doable at this point because of the conditions that exist there."

Village President John Schmitt said completing the path doesn't work financially for the village at this time.

He added that some other street projects ran into difficulties and went over budget.

Trustee Brian Dianis also agreed to hold off on completing the path this year.

"It is a nice amenity. We do want to fix this; that's why we're out there working on it," Dianis said. "Unfortunately, it turned out to be more than it was expected."

Trustee Robert Smith advocated for finishing the project this year.

"This is something that's there. Whether we wanted to try and get through it ... we took a gamble, and it didn't work. We still have the responsibility of getting it done," Smith said. "I don't want to see us half-do projects."

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