Another big parking project gears up in Libertyville

Updated 2/15/2011 5:27 PM

With the $8.7 million parking deck a known commodity in downtown Libertyville, work is set to begin on the next project that will complete an overhaul of village parking on the west side of Milwaukee Avenue.

As soon as the weather breaks, likely in early March, contractors will begin relocating and burying all overhead utilities in the public lot behind the village hall and abutting the backs of downtown businesses between Lake Street and Cook Avenue.


Expected to take about three months to complete, the project, awarded in January to Aldridge Electric for an amount not to exceed about $427,000, includes removing five utility poles.

The system also will be looped, according to Public Works Director John Heinz, meaning that instead of having to shut down the power to all businesses because of a problem, electricity can be turned off in isolated locations without widespread disruption.

How the work will need to be staged and how much it may disrupt existing parking is to be determined. Pedestrian access will be provided from the parking garage to stores in any event, according to Heinz.

"We'll be meeting with all the affected property owners to tell them what we're doing and how we're going to do it," he said.

Moving the electric, phone, and cable television lines underground will free limited space as a precursor to the transformation of the existing surface parking from a hodgepodge of obstacles to an easier-to-navigate, pedestrian-friendly setup.

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John Spoden, community development director, said the new configuration will be much easier to drive through. A pedestrian connection also will be created between Lake Street and Cook Avenue.

"It's so cluttered right now it's hard to visualize it," he said.

A 24-foot-wide road as well as a sidewalk will connect the two streets in a north-south orientation. Lighting, landscaping and other designs will conform to the village's downtown master plan and other improvements.

Restrictions regarding truck deliveries are expected, although details are to be worked out with business owners.

The 360-space parking deck opened in September 2009. Also in recent years, Manchester Square, which houses several businesses at Lake Street and Milwaukee Avenue, has opened, and other buildings have been renovated.

The surface parking improvements will be considered Feb. 22 by the village's appearance review commission and go to a public hearing before the plan commission on March 28.


The preliminary estimate for that portion of the work is between $700,000 and $800,000 and is expected to begin in June after the annual Libertyville Days festival.

"This block will be finished," Spoden said. "We initiated construction on the deck in 2009 but the planning has been going on for decades."

Village Administrator Kevin Bowens said there is a slight chance the surface parking work would have to be bumped to next year depending on any unexpected costs for the utility relocation.