Long-anticipated repairs to the train stations on both sides of the tracks in downtown Riverside will begin this spring after the village board approved moving forward with the work on Feb. 18.
While much-needed tuckpointing and painting will be completed on both structures and vandal-proof window panes will be installed at the pavilion on the north side of the tracks, Riverside is still wrestling with how to fund repairs to the roof of the historic train station on the south side of the tracks.
On Jan. 30, village officials learned that their application for nearly $1 million in grant funds had been turned down by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Riverside had sought the funds through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP), which provides grant funding for transportation-related projects, such as improvements to Centennial Park, completed in 2010.
Riverside applied for the grant funding back in May 2012, with the support of Metra, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The village failed in earlier attempts to get funding for the roof repairs through the West Suburban Mass Transit District and the federal Save America’s Treasures grant program.
According to Village Manager Peter Scalera the roof repairs, which are estimated to cost at least $1 million, are a priority.
“The roof needs to be addressed within the next five years,” said Scalera. “There are certain parts of the roof where there is water penetration. We’ve been able to patch it, but it’s only a matter of time.”
Scalera said he’ll make a recommendation to the village board whether to put the roof repairs on the village capital improvement plan calendar in 2014 or 2015.
In the meantime, Scalera said he will apply again for ITEP grant funding for the project this spring. Decisions on those applications won’t be made by the state until late 2013 or early 2014.
“I hope with the next round they’ll go back and give money for structures,” said Scalera, who noted that the ITEP funding in this round went toward things like bike trails, streetscaping and road improvements.
While Riverside was passed over for the funding, the village will move forward with masonry and other repairs to the downtown train station structures. The work is being funded through grants from the West Suburban Mass Transit District.
Riverside initially won a $160,000 grant from the district in 2010 and had planned on doing the repairs in the fall of 2012. However, bids came in significantly higher than the grant amount — the low bid last September was $233,000. The village board decided to reject the bids and start over.
In the meantime, Riverside approached the mass transit district again in January and secured an additional $53,000 toward the project.
On Feb. 14, new bids for the work were opened, and on Feb. 18 trustees voted to accept the low bid of $147,186, which was submitted by Roselle-based April Building Services. The bid was, by far, the lowest of six received by the village for the work. Three of the bids topped $200,000, and one came close to $300,000.
“To be honest, when the bid came in I was a little skeptical,” said Scalera.
But the village’s architectural consultant went over the bid specifications with April Building Services to make sure they understood the scope of work.
“They’re confident they can deliver at that price,” said Scalera.
Because the bid came in so low, Riverside now has another $66,000 or so in grant funding from the mass transit district available for other repairs. Scalera said he plans on asking the district if the money can be used to do some needed repairs to the north and south platform structures.
Scalera said he hopes that the work on the station buildings can kick off in March. The timing is dependent on sign-off by the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad.