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updated: 9/14/2011 3:05 PM

Aurora downtown park on track to meet hiring guidelines

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  • Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner speaks at the future site of RiverEdge Park, where hiring guidelines imposed by funding grants are being met.

       Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner speaks at the future site of RiverEdge Park, where hiring guidelines imposed by funding grants are being met.
    PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

  • Hiring guidelines are exceeding standards for work on the RiverEdge Park in Aurora on the east shore of the Fox River just north of downtown.

      Hiring guidelines are exceeding standards for work on the RiverEdge Park in Aurora on the east shore of the Fox River just north of downtown.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Donors who gave $13 million to jump start construction of RiverEdge Park in Aurora also laid down some rules about what type of companies can get the gig of building the city's outdoor gathering place of the future.

So far, the project is on track to meet or exceed the requirements to award contracts to businesses owned by minorities, women and Fox Valley-area residents, said Patrick Kelsey, executive vice president of Willis Burke Kelsey Associates, which is partnering with R.C. Wegman Construction Co. on the project.

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Of almost $10.8 million authorized for the first two phases of construction, $885,000 has been given to minority-owned businesses, $309,000 to women-owned businesses and $6.1 million to companies based in the Fox Valley area, Kelsey said.

The state, which granted $8 million toward the park's estimated $17.4 million cost, requires 5 percent of its funds to go to minority-owned businesses and another 5 percent to women-owned businesses, Kelsey said. That's about $400,000 each.

Current contracts have more than doubled the approximately $400,000 required to be paid to minority-owned businesses, and are 77 percent of the way to paying the same mandated total to women-owned businesses, Kelsey said.

The Dunham Fund, which granted $2 million toward park construction, requested $4 million in contracts to go to companies in the Fox Valley area between Routes 38 on the north, Route 59 on the east, Route 34 on the south and Route 47 on the west.

With $6.1 million already pledged to local companies, that requirement was met easily, Kelsey said.

"Going above and beyond that (requirement) I think is tremendous for our local economy," Alderman Stephanie Kifowit said.

The Aurora City Council on Tuesday approved a large chunk of the $10.8 million so far spent on the park -- a $9.7 million contract for the second phase of construction with R.C. Wegman.

The second phase includes construction of the music venue planned for the eastern shore of the Fox River, Kelsey said. A theater building, stage, concessions area, restrooms and a sound tower will be included in the contract along with the cost of utilities for the Music Garden.

Stephane Phifer, city planning and zoning director, said in July the second phase is expected to be the most expensive of the park's estimated $17.4 million cost, but one or two phases remain to be bid.

The state grant requires park construction be complete by Feb. 28, 2013.

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