Oak Park will pave two separate two-block stretches with bricks after residents there voted to have brick streets and the village found some money in its back pocket.

The village set aside $250,000 this year to pave one two-block stretch with new bricks, but it found money left over from a 2004 bond issue that could be used for the second two-block stretch, Village Manager Tom Barwin told the village board at its May 21 meeting.

Barwin said that how the project is funded needs to be decided by the board. Trustees were favorable to the idea of doubling the bricks effort at the meeting.

Barwin said the 700 and 800 blocks of South Humphrey and the 900 and 1000 blocks of South Wenonah will get brick streets as part of a pilot program. The village will study the brick streets to determine their cost, noise and permeability. Water that seeps into the soil through pavement does not enter the sewer system, getting flushed out instead (eventually) into the Gulf of Mexico.

Brick costs $120,000 per block more than asphalt, but has 50 to 60 years of life on one side of the material. Bricks can be flipped for another 50 to 60 years on the other side. The village has said brick streets can slow traffic and improve property values.

-Drew Carter

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