Saturday, October 28, 2006

Is This in our Future?

The following article struck a chord with me:

Hollywood Florida rejects $100,000 in incentives for Starbucks
By Richard Layman

There have been discussions regarding what will happen to our local home grown businesses as the new residential developments start to fill up and the retail spaces are occupied. Will the desire of some for national brand name retail overshadow the existing businesses that have survived the years of economic decline and the current impact of construction disrupting their operations. It has been suggested that funding be made available to existing businesses to help offset the negative impact during the extensive construction. The progress is certainly welcome and the end result is sure to be worth the sacrifice but don't forget those who paved the way.

Riverside Deck Proposals

Two proposals for the renovation of the Riverside Deck were presented to the city council on Wednesday, October 25th. Hitchcock Design Group and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Planning Group each presented three concepts.

All three proposals from the HOK Planning Group involved reuse of the existing pilings. One had several sections that extended over the river using the existing pilings while the rest would be removed. Another configured the sections in levels that stepped down toward the river. The last one connected the sections with a series of landscaped areas that reached down towards the river. All three included a fishing pier at the south end.

The Hitchcock Design Group also reused the pilings in two of it's proposals but removed them all in a third design that didn't involve any sections extending out into the river. Instead they proposed using the money saved to fund the pedestrian bridge at Prairie Street that was in the Riverfront Master Plan. It was pointed out that if this route was taken and all the pilings were removed, it was very doubtful that the city would ever be allowed to have a structure that extended into the river in the future. Their first proposal reused all the existing pilings while replacing the deck surface and included a covered structure located half way between Highland and Prairie. The second design replaced the permanent structure with several areas where temporary structures could be placed during the warmer seasons. A boardwalk which sloped down towards the river was added in this design to allow more access to the river. All three proposals involved environmentally friendly designs for the water runoff from the street and pedestrian areas.

The Courier News and Daily Herald articles are linked below.
2 firms unveil plans for Fox deck
Design firms pitch ideas for Riverside rehab

You can view the presentations on the City of Elgin Government Access Channel 17:
Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.
Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

What are your thoughts?

Water Main Break Repair on Sunday

City crews will repair a water main break in the central business district beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday, October 29th.
"We understand that this is a tremendous inconvenience. We will do everything we can to ensure the work is handled as expeditiously as possible," said Public Works Director John Loete. The repair will require crews to shut off water throughout the area on East Chicago Street from the Spring Street Parking Deck to across State Street (Illinois 31). Water service also will be turned off from Grove Avenue and DuPage Court to the Elgin Tower Building. Water service should be restored by 3 p.m. There will be traffic signs to better direct motorists through the area. Residents and guests also will be unable to park on East Chicago Street, from Spring to Villa streets.
For more information, please call (847) 931-3160.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Central Business District Streetscape Program Construction to Begin

Phase 1 of the five year streetscape program begins next week with the underground work.

Construction work on the utility upgrades associated with the first phase of the five year Central Business District Streetscape program is scheduled to begin during the week of October 30. This work will consist of the installation of new water mains, hydrants and water services with work starting on South Grove Avenue, at Chicago Street and proceeding south. The overall first phase project will include utility work on Grove Avenue, between Highland Avenue and Prairie Street, Fulton Street between Villa Street and Spring Street, and Spring Street between Chicago Street and Fulton Street/Grove Street.

The nature of the utility construction in the downtown area will create many challenges. The construction will be planned and executed in order to maintain reasonable access during construction, and minimize disruption to the extent possible. During the project, an ongoing public involvement and outreach effort will be maintained to keep stakeholders and the general public informed including newsletters, updates, and project status reports via mailings/handouts and on the City’s website.

The construction work on Chicago Street is part of a multi-year sewer separation project for all of Elgin. It was moved up in the schedule so it wouldn't interfere with the streetscape work.

For further information, please contact Steve Pertzborn, Senior Engineer, at 847-931-5955.

UPDATE: The project start date has been changed to November 6th so it doesn't conflict with the ongoing sewer separation work.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Five Year Streetscape Plan

The City of Elgin has engaged the services of TranSystems Corporation and DLK Civic Design to provide design services for water main and water service replacement, streetscape amenities construction and street resurfacing. The CBD Streetscape Improvement Project is in the City’s current five-year master plan with $15.5 million budgeted for utility and streetscape work.

Three public meetings have been held to collect input on sidewalk materials, trees and plantings and pedestrian access. The following links are the materials presented at the October 17th meeting:


The Streetscape Master Plan is in the works and will be presented at the fourth public meeting.

This is the schedule:
2006 Underground, 2007 Surface: Sidewalk, curb and gutter and street reconstruction/resurfacing on sections of Grove, Spring and Fulton.

2007 Underground, 2008 Surface: Chicago Street from State to Center, Spring Street from Chicago to Highland, and DuPage Street from Spring to Center.

2008 Underground, 2009 Surface: Douglas Street from Chicago to Symphony, Symphony Way from Douglas to Dundee, and Division Street from Douglas to Center.

2009 Underground, 2010 Surface: Highland Avenue from State to Center, Grove Street from Highland to City Hall, and Center Street from Dexter to Kimball.

2010 Underground, 2011 Surface: Spring Street from Highland to Kimball and Dexter Avenue from City Hall to Center.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Riverside Deck Presentation

Two proposals for the renovation of the Riverside Deck will be presented to the city council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, October 25th at 5:00 p.m. Please note the early starting time and get there on time, the presentation is the first item on the agenda. Hitchcock Design Group and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Planning Group are the two design firm competing for the project. The firms are required to present three concepts, one with access to the riverfront, one without access and one concept of the firm’s choosing. This project will link the riverwalk improvements north of Highland Avenue with the recently completed section south of Prairie Street at a cost estimated to be 10 million dollars.