ALGONQUIN – Village trustees are hoping that a multimillion-dollar investment in streetscape improvements will revitalize Algonquin’s downtown area and make it a “destination” for businesses and pedestrians.
The Village Board recently approved a $9.1 million contract with Rosemont-based Burke LLC, which will handle design, bidding and contractor selection for the revitalization plan, Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said.
The plan calls for reconstructing and widening sidewalks along Main Street and streets with brick, as well as decorative lighting, Kumbera said. Along with aesthetics, the project includes replacing the water main and sanitary sewer, improving drainage and burying overhead utilities.
The first construction phase of the downtown redevelopment plan focuses on South Main Street from Route 31 and Algonquin Road.
Plans include creating a Main Street plaza next to the historic Village Hall with a gas-fired timed fireplace and a Mineral Springs seating area near Towne Park, according to village documents.
The roadway on the Main Street bridge will be narrowed, and the sidewalks will be widened enough to provide room for potential outdoor seating.
“We really want to create a traditional, commercial downtown area and bring business to the area, and have an attractive commercial regional district to make this a destination spot while helping our current businesses, as well,” Kumbera said.
Work is expected to begin in January and will be completed by December, Kumbera said.
The opening of the western bypass of Route 31 in 2014 diverted traffic away from downtown Algonquin. With Main Street no longer a state highway, the village can make changes to better accommodate pedestrians.
“The area we are starting with used to be state highway, so the street is very wide and made for truck traffic,” Kumbera said. “Now we want to look at crosswalks, pedestrian and bicycle connections and make it a place where you feel welcome and comfortable walking around.”
About $5 million in capital expenses was budgeted for streetscape-related improvements in the fiscal 2017, which ends April 30, and the remaining funds will be budgeted for 2018, Kumbera said.
Kumbera said the village is seeking federal grants for reconstructing a bridge over Crystal Creek.
Burke is teaming with Metro Strategies Inc. to create a website for the project to keep all stakeholders informed, according to village documents.