River Forest is accelerating its alley reconstruction initiative in the coming fiscal year, targeting 14 alleys, which will trade asphalt or concrete pavements for a hybrid that includes permeable pavers to direct storm water away from sewers. | PROVIDED

A $2.1 million accelerated alley improvement program headed the list of the five-year capital improvement plan unveiled at the River Forest Village Board committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 24.

Capital expenditures are estimated to be $16.9 million over the next five years, $5.1 million of which is are expected to be spent in the first year, Fiscal Year 2023, which begins May 1.

The majority of funding, $2.7 million, will come from the capital improvements fund. Other funding sources are water and sewer fund, $908,000; capital equipment replacement fund, $726,764; motor fuel tax fund, $510,000; capital improvements fund/parking reserve, $150,000; and general fund, $105,000.  

Although the village typically reconstructs one alley per year, under the accelerated alley improvement program, four alleys were reconstructed last year with plans to reconstruct 14 more 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. 

Some of these alleys experience storm water issues and some have pavement in poor condition, according to the presentation of the capital improvement plan by Lisa Scheiner, assistant village administrator. 

Most consist of asphalt pavement, with a few having concrete pavement. Their reconstruction is intended to provide not only a better driving surface but increased storm water mitigation.

According to information on the village website, the typical cross section of River Forest’s new alleys 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 to be reconstructed in late winter/early spring 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. 

Unveiling the capital improvement plan is the first step of the budget process.  Officials said the plan is generally amended during the budget process as determinations are made for items to be moved forward or to be deferred based on current information. 

In April, a budget will be prepared and recommended to the village board, which will take input from residents, if there is any, at a public hearing. The final step in the process will be adoption of the budget, which is expected in April.

Also on the list of proposed capital improvement projects in FY2023 are $425,000 for water main replacement and $400,000 for street improvements.

Water mains to be replaced are on LeMoyne Street between Jackson Avenue and Monroe, between William and Clinton and from Bonnie Brae Place to Harlem Avenue.

Streets to be resurfaced under the street improvement program are Iowa Street from the dead end east of Park Avenue to Harlem, Monroe Street from Augusta to Chicago and William Street from Augusta to Chicago.

Although trustees made comments and asked questions about specific expenses and projects, Scheiner’s presentation was accepted without major discussion.

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