Boulders key to West Dundee development plan

  • Plans for work to be done in the area of Route 72 and First Street in West Dundee.

    Plans for work to be done in the area of Route 72 and First Street in West Dundee. COURTESY OF THE VILLAGE OF WEST DUNDEE

  • The village of West Dundee will be tearing down some buildings and will hire a company to line its side of the Fox River with boulders to keep the bank from eroding more when water levels rise and fall, according to officials.

    The village of West Dundee will be tearing down some buildings and will hire a company to line its side of the Fox River with boulders to keep the bank from eroding more when water levels rise and fall, according to officials. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 2/20/2017 6:11 PM

Boulders -- a lot of them -- will be the key to the next phase in West Dundee's downtown redevelopment plan south of Route 72.

After more buildings along Route 72 come down, village trustees will hire a company to line their side of the Fox River with boulders to keep the bank from eroding more when water levels rise and fall.

 

No one knows at this point how many boulders will be needed, but enough to act as a buffer between the river and soil shoreline.

"It's hard to know how many boulders will be needed, but enough to stop the erosion," said village trustee Tom Price. "We've use (boulders) along other sections of the river bank, north of Route 72, and they have worked well."

When the boulders are in place, contractors will begin work on the land, stretching 300 feet above the shore, installing plants, paving a parking lot and laying a walkway to Oregon Street.

The boulders are the linchpin to the $900,000 multiphase project, said Tim Scott, West Dundee's community development director.

"Those boulders will have functional and aesthetic purposes. We've used them north of the (Route 72) bridge, and they blend in well with the natural environment of the area," Scott said.

Engineers who draw final plans will decide how many boulders are needed to keep the shore stable and useful for years.

Those plans will be drafted and improvements will be in place, hopefully, before the summer is over, so the village can use the additional space by September when the three-day Heritage Festival is held, said West Dundee Village Manager Joe Cavallaro.

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During construction, four buildings adjacent to the river, and along West Main Street, will be demolished. Three of the buildings are vacant.

The fourth, at the corner of First Street and Route 72, houses the Around the Corner Candy Store. The business will be moved into an adjacent structure along First Street.

A slope will be created from the river bank to an extension of the riverwalk, where more parking and a small meeting place will be created.

The walk will be paved with bricks similar to the walk north of the Main Street bridge.

Since it was developed in the early 1990s, the northern end of the riverwalk has become a jewel and popular attraction for West Dundee. People use it daily to enjoy the river and the wildlife it attracts.

"(The extension) is designed to bring people closer to the river and enhance the character of the downtown area," Scott said.

The 24 additional parking spaces will help attract more customers to local businesses and professionals. More will be created behind the former Masi's bowling alley along First Street.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The former West Dundee water pumping station behind the First Street VFW Post has already been razed. Parking and trees will replace that building.

"Eventually, a seasonal structure may replace the pump house," Scott said. "That's further down the road though. The second part of the riverwalk will be designed to mirror the northern section of the riverbank."

Then, in a few years, trustees will see if their plan worked. If more people are crossing Route 72 to get from one section of the riverwalk to the other, they may ask the Illinois Department of Transportation to reset the time of the traffic signals at the corner of First Street and the state highway, Scott said.

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