More Libertyville park improvements work to bring in spring

Work on $2.5 million in improvements for the northern part of Nicholas-Dowden Park in Libertyville is on track to begin in spring.

The village board Tuesday approved two contracts totaling $343,323 for bidding and construction management services. The project will include installation of a “destination playground,” new basketball court, up to six pickleball courts, linear skate part, vegetative/native garden swale and a walking loop trail.

Hitchcock Design Group of Naperville, which developed the master plan and design of the southwest side park, was hired for $37,800 to conduct on-site inspections, review drawings and prepare field reports.

Featherstone Inc., of Downers Grove, which has been managing the engineering design process, was hired for $305.523 to oversee the park bid process and provide full-time on-site construction management.

The park is east of Butterfield Road on either side of Crane Boulevard in the flood-prone Highlands subdivision.

A massive two-part flood prevention project is 90% complete. Larger pipes to receive and convey stormwater were installed on neighborhood streets and the southern part of Nicholas-Dowden Park was lowered several feet to create storage. The stormwater management components for both are installed and operational.

Village officials wanted to wait until stormwater work on the southern part of the park was done before proceeding with improvements on the north side. They opted to delay bidding until fall in hopes of getting better pricing and containing construction to one season.

“We're hoping to get more favorable pricing by bidding it out now,” said village Trustee Pete Garrity, who chairs the village board's parks and recreation committee.

Using a construction manager also could provide savings by allowing the village to bid each trade separately rather than using a general contractor who would hire sub-contractors, he added.

The village initially budgeted $1.1 million for the project and increased it to $2.2 million after identifying additional park features as alternatives.

However, due to the amount of time that passed, inflation and other factors, the estimated cost increased to $4.1 million with the alternates.

The estimate was revised to $2.5 million as elements including expanding and renovating the restrooms and associated piping; redoing the parking area; installing a picnic shelter; and, using a poured-in-place surface were deferred for a future second phase.

Last year, the village received a $400,000 state grant for the park project. Garrity said improvements are intended to appeal to a cross-section of ages and park users and recognize the need for and popularity of pickleball.

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