By Bob Uphues
The first phase of a major face-lift for the Congress Park Metra station area is expected to break ground later this month after Brookfield village trustees on Aug. 24 awarded a $334,806 construction contract to Chicago-based Master Design Build LLC.
The winning bid, one of four submitted for the work, came in below the $375,908 estimate from the village's planning consultant for the project, Hitchcock Design Group.
About 45 percent of the cost of the work is being paid for through a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant. The rest will come from the Congress Park Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District via a loan from the Ogden Avenue TIF.
The work will include improvement to the Congress Park station tunnel, stairways and commuter rail platforms and the construction of a 21-space commuter parking lot in the Burlington Avenue right-of-way lot west of DuBois Boulevard.
Earlier this year, the village completed improvements to the sidewalk west of DuBois on the south side of Burlington Avenue. That project also included the installation of two bicycle shelters next to what will be the southwest corner of the new parking lot.
In addition to the new parking lot and decorative landscaping around it, the project will include power washing and painting the stairways to the platforms as well as the walls and ceiling of the pedestrian tunnel. Minor repairs will also be done to the masonry walls of the stairways, and new LED lighting will be installed in the tunnel.
The north platform shelter and the south shelter nearest the stairs will both be re-roofed and will also receive new glazing and LED lighting. Brick walls will enclose the south platform, replacing temporary plywood sheeting and matching the brick walls of the north shelter. The two smaller shelters on the south platform will be power washed.
New benches and trash cans will also be placed in the north and south shelters.
According to the terms of the contract, the work ought to be completed within 30 days of beginning. Master Design Build LLC, according to Village Planner Elyse Vukelich, is in the process of obtaining a temporary occupancy permit from the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad to start the job.
The BNSF is requiring that the train platforms be kept open to the public throughout the project, though daytime closures will be permitted when they're needed to allow workers to complete projects. Any work on the platforms themselves will be limited to between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Phase two of the Congress Park Metra station will involve reconstructing the crumbling south embankment that faces Burlington Avenue. The unsightly green retaining wall, which looks like it's constructed out of old railroad ties, is actually slabs of concrete piled on top of one another.
The BNSF has told the village that it will repair the wall, but no actual date has been set for the work. Rebuilding the retaining wall must happen before the final piece of the puzzle – the construction of a brick paver plaza and drop-off/pickup area in front of the station entrance can be completed.
Candy Cane Park design contract awarded
Brookfield trustees voted unanimously on Aug. 24 to award a $79,800 design and construction administration contract to Hitchcock Design Group to lead the makeover of Candy Cane Park on the village's north end.
Hitchcock Design group has been working for the village as its park planning consultant for more than a decade, and the firm has guided planning for Candy Cane Park for the past five years.
Half of the roughly $680,000 overhaul of the park, located west of Park Avenue between 28th and 29th streets, is being funded by an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The balance of the cost will be paid from village operating funds.
Originally scheduled to begin in 2020, the work will now start in spring/summer 2021 and be complete by spring /summer of 2022. Village officials decided to delay the project a year due to financial uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The village will seek bids from landscape contractors for the improvements next January.