The restoration of the historic train station in downtown Riverside will wrap up in 2018 with an interior remodel that follows a couple of years focusing on getting the building tuck pointed and re-roofed.

“The goal is to restore the interior to as near the 1910 version as possible,” said Riverside Public Works Director Edward Bailey.

As was done for the painted wood soffits on the exterior of the building, restored as part of the roof restoration project last year, workers will do a paint chip analysis to find the original color of the interior plaster walls, said Bailey.

“We should have the original look of the building, as reasonably close as we can get it, once we’re done [with the interior],” Bailey said.

On Jan. 18, the Riverside village board approved the work, awarding F.H Paschen Construction a contract worth about $56,500 to serve as the general contractor for the job. The board initially had budgeted $25,000 for the spruce-up, but the village expanded the scope of the project to include not just painting and plaster repair, but improvements to woodwork, electrical and plumbing systems and repairs to the terrazzo floor.

Village officials eye the train station as a potential source of revenue from events, ranging from weddings to fundraisers, and from commercial uses, such as holiday pop-up shops.

Bailey said he’s not sure exactly when work will begin, but said his department will proceed immediately with establishing a work schedule with the contractor. It’s not clear how long the work will take to complete.

Much of the work will revolve around repairing water damaged and cracked plaster walls, ceiling and architectural trim. A good bit of the work centers on the east end of the station, which at one time was converted into a coffee shop, but plaster repairs and repainting will be done throughout the interior.

Prior to the work starting, the Riverside history exhibit in the west waiting room will be removed. It will be reinstalled once work is complete, said Bailey.

Riverside streamlines process for picking contractor

When the Riverside Village Board voted unanimously on Jan. 18 to award construction contracts to F.H. Paschen, they agreed to waive competitive bidding in the process, perhaps signaling a new strategy by the village to streamline the hiring process for capital projects.

In essence, the village piggybacked on policies adopted by Cook County and the village of Naperville, which offers "job order contracting," according to Public Works Director Edward Bailey.

The village had used the process just once previously before Jan. 18 on a plumbing-related project.

Companies who want job order contracting deals compete with each other for jobs being parceled out by government agencies by offering their lowest possible unit pricing and hourly worker rates.

Paschen, which has job order contracting arrangements with Cook County and Naperville, agreed to honor its unit pricing for the Riverside work, giving the village pre-established rates for the work they need done.

Instead of creating bid specifications and spending money on the bidding process, which includes required legal advertisements, etc., the village can take advantage rates that have already been arrived at through a competitive process.

"It's especially helpful for communities with small staffs," Bailey said. "It can be very expedient and take less time [than a full-blown bid process]."

Bob Uphues