With Lake Street improvements underway, the village of Oak Park has turned its attention to its next big street project — the renovation of Oak Park Avenue. The renovation project consists of water and sewer updates and street resurfacing from Roosevelt Road to North Avenue. 

“Oak Park Avenue from Roosevelt [Road] to North Avenue is in need of resurfacing,” said Assistant Village Engineer Byron Kutz. 

According to Kutz, the last time the street was resurfaced was in 2004 and 2005. According to the project’s website, www.RenewTheAvenue.com, water and sewer updates will be completed prior to the “comprehensive” resurfacing in 2021.

The project also includes streetscaping for the Hemingway District, a stretch of Oak Park Avenue that extends south from Lake Street to Pleasant Street and north to Ontario Street.

“The streetscape was last redone in 1992,” Kutz said. “It’s been a while; some of the materials are starting to get worn out.”

The village wants to make Oak Park Avenue more accessible and pedestrian-friendly, Kutz said.

Construction on the Hemingway District will tentatively start in 2022, according to the website. The design phase started this year.

The village is holding a stakeholder meeting, March 10, at the Oak Park Township Senior Center, 130 S. Oak Park Ave., to discuss the streetscaping portion of the project and gain community input. The session will have a presentation with an overview of the project, as well as live polling and small, facilitated discussions.

Landscape architects will be there, as well as representatives from consulting firm A5, which will manage community outreach and help garner community feedback. 

Kutz said the village and engineering team will try to gauge what the public’s “top-five priorities” are for Oak Park Avenue. 

“Concepts will be developed from that, and then later this summer we’ll present it to the [village board],” said Kutz. The project team will also present design material options and estimated streetscaping costs.

Oak Park received $3 million in federal funding through the Surface Transportation Funding for the resurfacing of Oak Park Avenue.

The village will hold another public meeting later this month to discuss the resurfacing portion of the project.

Businesses and residents in the Hemingway District will be hit by the Lake Street project and then again by the Oak Park Avenue project. However, Kutz does not anticipate the Oak Park Avenue renovation being as big as the Lake Street work, which is planned to wrap up before the end of this year.

“I don’t think it’ll seem as long as a project,” he said. “I think it’ll seem a smaller project, but it really depends on what’s ultimately approved.”

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