With two major infrastructure projects underway, members of the River Forest Village Board turned their attention this month to funding for the efforts.

Trustees voted unanimously at a special meeting Dec. 6 to approve a resolution declaring the village’s intent to reimburse itself for certain eligible expenses related to the water meter replacement project and accelerated alley improvement programs.

Rosey McAdams, director of finance, explained in a memo that this would be the first step in the process of issuing $5.4 million in bonds to pay for the projects.

The water meter project will entail upgrading residential and commercial meters throughout the village with state-of-art equipment that will allow the village to obtain readings without requiring public works staff members to perform a “drive-by” read, which is the current practice. 

Village officials said the project will deliver better customer service by providing accurate bills based on actual consumption that can be seen in real time by providing meter reads on an hourly basis instead of once per billing cycle, the current practice. It can also help identify any irregularities in water usage such as leaks being experienced by residents.

In addition, the project will streamline the water meter reading process by eliminating the need for public works staffers to drive through the village, which will be more environmentally friendly and save staff time.

While customers will not be charged for the new meters themselves, water rates might increase. Jeff Loster, director of public works and development services, said the village is currently in the process of conducting a planned water and sewer rate study to take into account costs for the project and other factors to determine whether changes to the current water rate are warranted.

Alley paving accelerated

Although the village typically reconstructs one alley per year, under the accelerated alley improvement program, four alleys were reconstructed this year with plans to reconstruct 14 other alleys before the middle of 2023.

Plans call for three alleys to be reconstructed in late winter/early spring 2022, eight in summer/fall 2022 and the final three in late winter/early spring 2023. The remaining alleys are all south of Chicago Avenue and east of Park Avenue.

According to information on the village website, the typical cross section involves reconstruction with concrete pavement, sloped inward toward an approximately three-foot wide strip of permeable pavers.

The pavers allow storm water runoff to be conveyed to a stone reservoir underneath the pavement to help reduce flooding. There is also a perforated pipe within the stone reservoir which helps convey storm water away from the alley during periods of excessive rainfall.

Alleys were reconstructed this year between Hawthorne Avenue and Linden Street from Park Avenue to Franklin Avenue; between Hawthorne and Linden from Franklin to Ashland Avenue; between Linden and Washington Boulevard from Franklin to Ashland; and between Linden and Washington from Park to Franklin.

Alleys to be reconstructed in late winter/early spring 2022 are between Monroe Avenue and William Street from Chicago Avenue to Oak Avenue; between Lake Street and Holly Court from William to Bonnie Brae Place; and between Holly and Quick Avenue from Clinton Place to Bonnie Brae.

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