Trustees approve design of fifth phase of Winnetka downtown improvements; Work to begin over summer
A new year, a new phase in Winnetka’s downtown streetscape plan.
Winnetka trustees on Tuesday, Jan. 3, reviewed and approved the final design for Phase 5 of the project, which now shifts its focus to east of Lincoln Avenue on Elm Street.
At an estimated pricetag of $1.62 million, the fifth phase calls for improved sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, as well as additional bike storage and pedestrian seating from Lincoln Avenue to Arbor Vitae Road. Also included in the phase is the replacement of an outdated water main under Elm Street.
In most previous phases, construction began in early spring; however, because Phase 5 work involves areas utilized in Winnetka’s Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations, village officials requested work to begin July 10.
According to village documents, discussion of the downtown streetscape plan began in 2018 and work on Phase 1 (Chestnut and Spruce streets) was completed in November 2020; Phase 2 (Elm from Green Bay Road to Birch Street) in June 2020; Phase 3 (Lincoln Avenue, plus water main replacement) in July 2021; and Phase 4 (Chestnut Court and Street, portions of Oak, Elm and Spruce streets) in July 2022.
On Tuesday, the village council heard from James J. Bernahl, Winnetka’s director of engineering, and Jodi Mariano, principal designer with the project’s architect, Teska Associates.
In a presentation, Mariano detailed the work in Phase 5, which is the final planned phase related to the Elm Street Business District; however, in a response email to The Record, Village Manager Rob Bahan said further streetscape work will eventually occur around the One Winnetka development at the southeast corner of Elm and Lincoln.
The Village in 2023 will begin planning a streetscape program for the Hubbard Woods Business District north of Tower on Green Bay roads.
In the fifth phase, among other work, seatwalls, planters and bike racks will be added to the southwest corner of Lincoln and Elm; 14 parking spaces will be realigned and repaved on Elm near Arbor Vitae; four parkway trees will be replaced and two will be added along Elm; and crosswalks and curbs will be improved through the Arbor Vitae intersection.
Bernahl said staff will return to the council in February with contracts or both Phase 5 and Winnetka’s 2023 Street Rehabilitation Program. He said releasing bids for the two projects at the same time may save the Village money by taking advantage of current costs.
Funding for Phase 5 will be split between the Business District Revitalization Fund ($1.3 million) and the water fund ($313,000, water main replacement), documents show.
Work to replace the water main will begin the phase’s construction in July 2023, and officials hope work is complete by mid-October.
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319