One of North Riverside’s busiest and most treacherous streets will get a makeover later this year, with more than half of the cost being paid for through a federal grant given to the village several years ago to build a bike path.
When the bike path was completed, North Riverside had $350,000 left over. Instead of simply surrendering that money, the village chose to incorporate curb and sidewalk improvements to their plan to resurface 25th Street from Harlem Avenue to the entrance of the North Riverside Park Mall.
The street was last resurfaced in the mid-1990s and is rapidly deteriorating. The winter took an especially hard toll on the roadway where it intersects with Harlem Avenue, leaving gaping potholes.
In addition to resurfacing the street, the railroad tracks that still remain at the western end of the work area will be removed. According to John Fitzgerald, the village’s engineer, the railroad tracks had been left in place when the Canadian National Railroad removed the vacated spur line last year, because they were on land actually owned by the parent company of Tony’s Finer Foods, which owns the strip shopping center south of 25th Street.
Recently, the company dedicated that portion of the roadway to North Riverside to include it in the resurfacing project area. Because the project is using federal grant funding, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is handling the bidding and construction scheduling. The total cost of the project is estimated between $550,000 and $600,000.
IDOT will solicit bids in mid-June and has until the end of July to award a contract for the work. As a result, said Fitzgerald, work is likely to begin in late August or early September and largely will be completed around the end of November.
The asphalt surface of the street will be resurfaced and re-striped. In addition, said, Fitzgerald, there will be some minor sewer repairs. All of the curbs will be replaced and the concrete sidewalks will be torn out and replaced with a decorative, stamped, concrete sidewalk. It will be red in color and have a flagstone pattern, he said.
Asked if the rather plain stretch of public right of way might be spruced up with planters, Fitzgerald said the design allows for such additions in the future.
“We are trying to enhance that corridor,” said Fitzgerald. “It could definitely use it, but that’s something for the future.”
That particular stretch of 25th Street was built in the mid-1970s when the strip mall was built as an extension of the North Riverside Park Mall. The mall’s owner later sold off the property. In 2007, the parent company for Tony’s bought the entire shopping center for $21.75 million.
The street serves as a commercial gateway for the village of North Riverside and connects to three separate shopping centers.