With the Costco development sure to draw more traffic to that area of North Riverside, the village will turn its attention next year to a stretch of 25th Street between Harlem Avenue and North Riverside Park Mall in dire need of resurfacing.
The street serves as a gateway to three shopping strips along Harlem Avenue, the North Riverside Park Mall to the west, the strip mall anchored by Tony’s Finer Foods to the south and the North Riverside Plaza to the north.
Parts of the street are crumbling, particularly near the Harlem/25th intersection. The street was constructed in the mid-1970s, when the strip mall to the south was an extension of the North Riverside Park Mall.
In August the North Riverside Village Board discussed four options for improving that stretch of roadway, with the hope of using federal grant funding left over from the village’s bike path project for the majority of the work.
Initially, the village had hoped to use the leftover grant funds — about $350,000 — to resurface residential side streets. However, the Federal Transportation Board, which disbursed the funds to North Riverside for the 26th Street bike path, ruled that the village was ineligible to use grants funds simply for resurfacing projects.
“It all boiled down to the word ‘enhancement,'” said Village Administrator Guy Belmonte. “We knew 25th Street was bad. So [Public Works Director] Tim Kutt, [village Engineer] John Fitzgerald and I worked together to come up with options for the board.”
While resurfacing 25th Street is part of all four options, there are other enhancements included in the project in order to make it grant-eligible, according to Belmonte. All of the options have been sent to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which has passed them on to the Federal Transportation Board for review.
“We’re waiting to hear back,” Belmonte said.
If approved for grant funding, the village would likely move ahead with an option that includes resurfacing 25th Street, replacing the curbs and gutters along the entire length of the roadway and replacing the public sidewalk with a decorative, stamped concrete.
Other options, which likely would be cost prohibitive, include replacing the present lighting with decorative lighting and adding streetscape elements like a grass parkway, benches, a bus shelter, trees and planters.
Belmonte said that the village could seek an additional state grant for lighting improvements in the future.
Officials are targeting construction for spring 2014.