Algonquin trustees hear plan for $30 million in downtown improvements

Widened sidewalks, replacing asphalt with brick on main streets among concepts

ALGONQUIN – Concepts for Algonquin's downtown presented to the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday by representatives of a planning firm could bring $30 million in upgrades to the area if implemented.

Daniel Grove of Chicago's The Lakota Group presented the conceptual plans, which include replacing asphalt with brick pavers on main streets, adding signage near the Algonquin Western Bypass to lure drivers into downtown, and adding curb extensions to increase the amount of sidewalk space.

Public Works Director Bob Mitchard said the process of making those upgrades likely would take five to eight years to complete because of the underground infrastructure work that would be necessary, which is included in the cost estimate.

"There's a lot of pretty infrastructure on the surface," Mitchard said. "There's a lot of things underneath that we would have to consider addressing in some fashion that will have to be taken care of prior to the time we do surface work."

The concepts were the result of a process that started around May 2015, Mitchard said. The village's public works and community development departments were involved, as were some members of the Village Board and Historic Commission.

Additional ideas mentioned by planners included making it easier for bicyclists on local paths to get into downtown and lock their bikes, and widening the sidewalk on the bridge over Algonquin Road if the state were to make changes to that road.

The $30 million figure included $17.8 million of road improvements and $5.4 million in bridge repairs.

Grove presented three potential treatments that could be applied to streets depending on whether they were considered primary, secondary or tertiary. The overall average cost per foot of improvements is $1,500.

The primary streets, which included portions of Main, Harrison and Washington streets, would be totally redone and get brick pavers in the road, costing about $2,000 to $3,000 per foot.

The $30 million estimate assumed the bridges on Main and Harrison streets would need to be replaced entirely, although it would be determined later whether that would be necessary.

Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said the village plans to pay for the project using a variety of sources, including the funds from the TIF district, funds from the recent water and sewer rate increase and funds provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation when transferring the jurisdiction of Main Street. Officials also will try to obtain federal and state grants. he said.
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