Elk Grove Village's clock tower, veterans park are about to be upgraded
Each nearly two decades old, a pair of community landmarks in Elk Grove Village are set to get a fresh look in the coming months.
The $1.7 million, two-phase project includes renovations to the village's clock tower plaza and nearby Veterans Memorial Park, both originally dedicated in 2002.
Construction vehicles and equipment are already at the fenced-in clock tower plaza on Wellington Avenue at the entrance to the Village Green and municipal campus. Work crews will be making repairs, upgrading walkways and adding landscaping, officials said.
Included in the plans will be removing raised planter beds and replacing them with deciduous and evergreen shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses. The planter boxes and brick pavers around the plaza have been damaged by tree roots that have kept growing and growing.
"The trees did well. A little too well," Mayor Craig Johnson said. "A little over 20 years ago when we planted (them), those bud trees are gorgeous, but they have roots, and unfortunately the roots have nowhere to go but up and it's cracking up the concrete, the brick pavers and all the rest."
The project also calls for improved walkway accessibility around and through the plaza, making the area compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Johnson said the plaza reconstruction, set for completion by the end of the year, may provide minor disruption to the weekly Saturday farmers market, which runs through the last weekend of October.
"The clock tower is beautiful. We love it. It's the centerpoint of town," Johnson said.
Not even a block away, the veterans park at the northeast corner of Wellington Avenue and Biesterfield Road is set to get a major overhaul starting in the spring.
A new memorial wall will include waterfall and bubbler fountains in front of bronze seals of the branches of the military -- including the Space Force that was established in December 2019.
"So we might be one of the first facilities in the country that actually recognizes the Coast Guard, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army and now Space Force," Johnson said.
The updated layout to the park will establish a more distinct and secluded space for reflection and remembrance, with seating areas and a redesigned garden, officials say.
A small parking lot will also be added to make the memorial more accessible.
"One thing we hear from a lot of our veterans -- a lot of veterans are seniors -- is they want to park and be able to go in there safely," Johnson said.
The village also is moving its Fallen Soldier Memorial Statue, dedicated in 2005 to the memory of four young soldiers who died fighting the war on terror, from the Village Green to Veterans Memorial Park.
The park improvements are set to be completed in 2022.
The village board last week awarded a contract for the renovations to Mundelein-based AJ Oleson Construction Co. through Mount Prospect-based Nicholas & Associates Inc., which is serving as the village's construction manager.
The money is coming from the village's Residential Enhancement Fund budget, which is largely funded by red-light camera ticket revenue.