Naperville Park District is looking to use savings from projects such as playground renovations and basketball court construction to expedite improvements at a couple buildings on Jackson Avenue.
Work to build a flood wall and a handicapped accessible path around the administration building at 320 W. Jackson is likely to take place this year instead of next; and a project to maintain the exterior and improve sidewalks at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center at 305 W. Jackson can be expanded, said Eric Shutes, director of planning.
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In the case of the flood wall and accessible path, Shutes said staff members determined construction will cost less than expected -- $110,000 instead of $146,000. The district planned to spend $30,000 on designs and permits this year, but not build the wall or path until next year.
But with flood-prevention, Shutes said time can be of the essence. During a meeting Wednesday, he asked park board commissioners to give preliminary approval to build the flood wall this year. The board agreed, with Commissioner Marie Todd saying she also looks forward to creation of a path that meets the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"The sooner we get the ADA work done, the better off we are," Todd said. "And if we can put the wall in, just do it."
Severe flooding on April 18, 2013, caused the DuPage River to overflow into Centennial Beach and required sandbags to be placed along the west side of the administration building to prevent it from taking on water. The planned flood wall will rise a couple feet on the west side of the building to keep it dry.
"Will it impair the beauty of the area at all?" Commissioner Kirsten Young asked.
Shutes said the flood wall will not be an eyesore, but will be "decorative," with some "texture to it" and adorned with landscaped vines and shrubs.
Savings on projects within the park district's $16.6 million budget for capital improvements will allow the construction to be advanced one year. Shutes said he expects to bring a contract for park board approval this summer so work can begin after Labor Day.
Savings of roughly $168,000 on improvements such as playground renovations at Harris Fawell Park and basketball courts at River Run and White Eagle parks should allow the scope of work planned at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center to be expanded, Shutes said.
A planned exterior maintenance project was budgeted at $325,000, but architects determined more is needed to add a new sign, a stone wall and light fixtures and to increase the width of the sidewalk near the entrance. The additional work is expected to add $136,520, but the savings of $168,000 can cover it.
Commissioner Ron Ory said the sidewalk is narrow near a striped area on the pavement, and people frequently jaywalk. Shutes said widening the sidewalk could help improve safety for those exiting or walking past the community center.
"By widening the sidewalk, we think it would give people more comfort and the ability to walk on the sidewalk, which is where they should be as opposed to the street," Shutes said.
The park district leases the community center from the city of Naperville, and staff members plan to ask if any city funding can be made available to help with the exterior and sidewalk improvements.