Behind-the-Services: Community Improvement Planning
With winter weather almost finally out of the way, it’s time to prepare for the only other season we seem to have: construction season. While the Village has some major projects coming up on the docket, this year’s regional construction projects will likely have the most impact to drivers, especially as you travel west. Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) closed Dundee Road between Waukegan Road and Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook for major repairs. IDOT anticipates that the closure could last through October. We are closely monitoring this project, staying in contact with our colleagues in Northbrook and IDOT, and will provide updates on our Regional Construction Projects page, so please check in frequently.
Turning back to the Village’s projects, you can expect to see over $4 million in capital and infrastructure investments this year throughout the community as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Community Improvement Program (CIP). If you’re planning to visit some of our shops on Vernon Avenue this summer, you’ll experience the second phase of the Downtown Brick Paver Restoration Project first-hand. Over the course of this project, we will restore (by lifting, re-grading and replacing) over 70,000 square feet of brick pavers in the downtown area, eliminating trip hazards and ponding during rain storms (and refreshing our beautiful downtown streetscape in the process).
Another highly visible downtown project, the Tudor Court Streetscape Improvement Project, is scheduled to be completed later this year. Following a 20-month public engagement and design review process, we are moving forward with the final design and construction bidding process for the $1.2 million in streetscape improvements to Tudor Court between Vernon Avenue and Green Bay Road. Tentatively, construction would begin as early as August and be completed by later this fall. A forthcoming blog in July will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the project and the impact it will have in this important part of our downtown area.
These are just a few of the many projects included in Fiscal Year 2020 CIP—this year, we will continue to invest in our sidewalks, street lights, traffic signals, storm and sanitary sewers, wayfinding signage and water mains. Planning takes a significant amount of staff time, and we continue to refine our data driven processes to prioritize projects and infrastructure and our numerous studies and plans help guide this process. The Downtown Plan laid out recommendations for improvements to Tudor Court and to improving downtown wayfinding signage; our Water Distribution Master Plan and Water Supply Master Plan each provide recommendations for key water system improvements; and the newly completed Active Transportation Plan offers recommendations for sidewalk and pedestrian crossing improvements throughout the community, many of which we will begin to implement this year.
Our investments in infrastructure are not just limited to asphalt, pipes and concrete, but also include major investments in our technology. Improvements in 2019 to our Water Treatment SCADA System and Enterprise Resource Planning software will provide us the ability to automate workflows, reduce staff time and improve reporting capacity. In essence, through technology improvements, our staff will now be able to do more with less, and do it faster. All of these investments and more are part of the $49 million 10-Year CIP which is updated annually as part of the budget development process.
Although infrastructure improvements are beneficial to all residents, they have a very real and tangible effect to those that live or work near a construction zone. We recognize the importance that prompt and concise public communication plays in ensuring a smooth construction season for all, and we will continue to expand and improve our communication regarding construction projects. If you haven’t yet signed up for our bi-weekly Village eNews updates, I strongly encourage you to do so (get started here). We share a lot of useful information through this communication tool.
I also encourage you to stay tuned to the 2019 Construction Projects webpage and to scroll through our interactive CIP “story map” which features timelines, project manager contact information and anticipated impacts. And if you’re on social media, you can also look for the weekly construction updates on Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor.
As we collectively work through the construction season together, we hope that you will continue to give us feedback—both on the projects themselves and about our communication efforts. Our CIP Communications Survey will always be available so that we can make sure to keep improving our outreach, but residents that need immediate assistance about a particular project that is impacting them can contact the project manager or Management Analyst, Adam Hall via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your patience as these important investments in our community’s infrastructure get underway!