Libertyville's second downtown parking deck finally a go

  • Plans are proceeding for a new parking deck in downtown Libertyville.

      Plans are proceeding for a new parking deck in downtown Libertyville. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted4/20/2016 5:00 AM

The time has come for the impressive roster of seasonal events to erupt in downtown Libertyville, and the pending construction of a 317-space parking deck has prompted some tweaks and another layer of planning to guide visitors as the project unfolds.

A project website, maps, signs, email blasts and other avenues will be part of the effort to ensure residents and visitors can find a spot as surface parking south of the Libertyville Civic Center on Church Street in the heart of the area is fenced off and heavy equipment moves in.

 

That isn't expected until mid-May, but as of Tuesday morning 197 people had signed up with the village to to be notified of parking garage updates. While braced for a potential disruption, city and business interests are eager to get a long-sought increase in downtown parking underway.

"We all want to work together," said Pam Hume, executive director of Main Street Libertyville, a downtown preservation and marketing group. "Yes, it will be difficult for a while. We're trying to make it as easy as possible."

Some of the changes involve moving vendors off Church Street and into adjoining Cook Park for the farmers market Thursdays beginning June 23, as well as a continuously running shuttle for the popular Out to Lunch program Fridays beginning June 24.

The village has been working with local banks to make after-hours spaces available and will promote parking there and at commuter train lots on Lake Street and Newberry Avenue.

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Parking deck construction was to have been underway but has been delayed by much higher-than-anticipated costs and issues with the construction bids. On Jan. 12, the village board rejected the first batch of bids because the lowest was $1.4 million over the original estimate of $8.3 million.

"The construction market right now is experiencing higher prices because of the demand," said Brad Navarro, director of operations for Walker Parking Consultants.

Specifically, the pre-cast concrete panels that make up the bulk of a parking deck drove up the price, and the project was redesigned to lower costs. The new design was rebid, but the village staff recommended rejecting the lowest two, saying they did not meet guidelines.

A decision was delayed two weeks for further study, but the recommendation held and the village board on April 12 voted 5-1 to accept the $8.74 million bid from Walsh Construction, which was $340,000 above the low bid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trustee Donna Johnson was the lone dissenter.

"I know we need it," she said Tuesday, "but I voted no because my preference would have been to start the rebidding process all over to see if we could get bids that were more competitive and aligned with our initial budget."

Contract language is being finalized, and a schedule is being determined.

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