New features at opposite corners in downtown Antioch will be installed this fall to refresh and provide visual pop to the well-traveled area.
One, the Street Clock Project, will be among of the final actions associated with Antioch's 125th anniversary celebration, following a summer of activities. It is intended as a permanent reminder of the town's history.
In coming weeks, an 18-foot clock acquired several years ago but kept in storage, will be uncrated and installed in a small plaza on the northeast corner of Orchard Street and Route 83, also known as Main Street.
"As part of the village's 125th anniversary celebration, we want to have a permanent fixture to mark the occasion for future generations," said Michael Garrigan, community development director.
Diagonally across the street, landscaping at the courtyard of village hall will be refreshed for the first in more than 15 years.
"It took nine years to get a set of plans for village hall landscaping. Nothing has been done in years -- that wasn't a priority based on revenues," Mayor Larry Hanson said.
Budget concerns have eased, and rather than spend millions on a new village hall, a relatively small investment to improve what's there is in order, Hanson said.
The work will provide landscaping with color for every season and highlight an old sycamore tree and veterans memorial in the courtyard.
"The corner still is a focal point downtown," Hanson said. "I want village hall to pop."
The work at both locations was combined in a single contract, with RJL Nursery & Landscaping of Antioch doing the projects for a total cost of $43,983.
The clock was acquired by the village in 2009 for $25,000 with funds from a special taxing district used to improve the downtown area.
It originally was to have been installed a block south at Lake and Main streets, but equipment installed there as part of a road improvement project required officials to choose a new location.
Village officials were waiting for the right opportunity to install the clock, which will become the signature feature of the plaza, envisioned as a community gathering place. Benches, lighting, planters, landscaping and a commemorative plaque honoring the village's heritage are part of the project.
"This is a better corner, it has greater visibility," Garrigan said. "It's a new public place downtown."
It also is a gateway to the former Pittman Pontiac property, which has been cleared and is for sale.
Antioch was incorporated as a village on Feb. 29, 1892, following a 57 to 53 vote in favor of the measure.
At the time of incorporation, the size of the village was not to exceed 2 square miles or 300 inhabitants.
It since has grown to about 8 square miles and has 14,430 residents.