Riverside Public Works Director Dan Tabb said a canoe launch planned for Swan Pond Park would be constructed from limestone slabs similar to the ones shown above. (Courtesy of Village of Riverside)

As Riverside officials try to figure out just how to fund its portion of the cost to rebuild the walking path in Swan Pond Park and shore up eroded sections of the streambank, trustees on March 4 appeared receptive to adding another element to the project – a canoe launch.

Public Works Director Dan Tabb told elected officials at their meeting earlier this month the canoe launch would increase the total cost of the project by $5,000. The roughly 10-foot wide canoe launch would be constructed out of limestone slabs similar to, but thinner, than those that will be used to stabilize the riverbank in three separate areas along the walking path.

“It seemed like a natural fit to try to incorporate something using a thinner limestone ledge,” said Tabb, who added that the cost, given the scope of the project, “is a minimal amount for the benefit that we would be providing.”

The canoe launch’s tentative location is the area close to the northern end of the walking path, where the river bends sharply east. The location at the bottom of the hill nearest to Burling Road would provide the easiest access to the river for kayakers and canoers.

Adding another $5,000 to the cost of the project would push the estimated total expense to $605,500. Riverside has obtained a pair of grants for the project, a $350,000 pledge from the state and another $50,000 from Cook County.

That leaves Riverside needing to find $205,500 to pull off the project. Elected officials on March 4 also expressed some interest in pouring a strip of dyed concrete down the center of the path to replicate the look of a permeable brick paver ribbon, which was an option they ultimately rejected as not worth the cost and future maintenance given the path’s location in a floodplain.

While colored-stained concrete would not cost nearly as much as a paver strip, Tabb said such an option would require multiple pours of concrete, which would result in the path having two joints instead of one and increase the cost of labor.

“I think from an aesthetic standpoint, it’d be a much more attractive path with that decorative element,” Sells said.

Tabb said he would return to the board soon to report on what the cost or impact of adding a colored strip of concrete to the path would be.

As for how the village intends to pay for its share of the cost for the path, bank stabilization and canoe launch, Village Manager Jessica Frances said the village has the cash on hand needed for the improvement. Finance Director Karin Johns added that she expected the village’s 2020 financial audit, which will be complete later this spring, to reveal a general operating fund surplus, which could be directed toward the project.

If the surplus is not enough to cover the entire amount of the village’s share, officials may have to reprioritize some other capital projects scheduled for 2021.

Construction is slated to take place this summer, once funding is sorted out and a contract is awarded.