Business goes on during downtown Arlington Heights construction; village say fests will go on, too
While downtown Arlington Heights streets remain torn up amid a number of ongoing summer construction projects, village officials say the work remains on schedule and anticipate the Mane Event and Taste of Arlington Heights to go off without a hitch a month from now.
And while some al fresco dining locales near the construction route may be more affected than others, officials say there hasn't been a precipitous decline in the number of visitors to the downtown after the digging and drilling wraps up for the evening, including the Sounds of Summer concert series.
Construction began in March on new Nicor gas mains, relocating many of the 25-year-old pipes from under the roadways to beneath sidewalks.
In May, the village started a $3.6 million stormwater project to install a new sewer on Chestnut Avenue between Campbell and Wing streets, and replace sewers on Campbell and Sigwalt streets between Ridge and Vail avenues, with larger sewers. The project is aimed at mitigating basement backups for up to 250 homes in the area and preventing street flooding on Campbell west of Vail.
The site of the forthcoming Arlington 425 development -- on Campbell between Highland and Chestnut avenues -- is being used to temporarily house construction equipment for the sewer project.
Village Manager Randy Recklaus said Tuesday that both the gas main and sewer projects are going along as planned, with the goal of completing sewer work and pavement restoration on Campbell between Chestnut and east of Vail before August. That would allow time for setup for the annual two-day downtown street fest -- Mane Event on Aug. 2 and Taste of Arlington Heights on Aug. 3.
Work is expected to continue, though, on other streets.
Three midblock crosswalks -- on Campbell Street and Dunton and Evergreen avenues -- are set for construction, and in the fall, brick-paver sidewalks are scheduled for maintenance north of Northwest Highway. The Illinois Department of Transportation also is resurfacing Northwest Highway from Vail Avenue east to Des Plaines.
Village officials considered postponing some of the work but concluded it was better to get everything out of the way at once.
Because of construction, the annual Promenade of Art June 8-9 was moved to be a few blocks away, but it still had good crowds, Recklaus said.
And there hasn't been any drop in attendance on Thursday and Friday nights at Harmony Park for the Sounds of Summer concerts, he said.
With a couple of exceptions, Recklaus said construction areas have been buttoned up by the evenings, allowing for more street parking.
Most of the heavy construction activity in recent days has been in the heart of downtown at the Campbell/Vail intersection, just steps from the outdoor dining patios of local bars and restaurants. Because of the anticipated disruption, the village waived its annual $115 outdoor dining fee for restaurants that set up tables and chairs on sidewalks.
Peter Favia, general manager of Armand's Pizzeria, said the business has experienced a decline in customers and revenue. And while construction is wrapped up for the day by the time of the evening dinner rush, not as many want to sit outside as usual.
"It's dusty. It's ugly. Nobody wants to sit and look at that," Favia said.
But he acknowledged he and his staff were prepared for the season of summer construction.
"We're just gonna grin and bear it. It's gotta be done. Exactly what they said would happen is happening, and we were ready for it," Favia said.