City Square project to transform historic Joliet area

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The City of Joliet has greenlit a revitalization project adjacent to the historic Joliet Rialto Square Theater. The City Square development is expected to create a larger urban gathering space, a need identified in the 2015 Downtown Joliet Plan.

“The area surrounding the historic Rialto Square Theater is in the heart of Joliet and deserves to be a place for families to gather and enjoy the beautiful amenities and dining options downtown has to offer,” said Mayor Terry D’Arcy. “The City Square plan will support and promote our downtown businesses and institutions while establishing a safe location for year-round events for residents, visitors, employees, and students in the region to enjoy.”

The project has received $3 million from the Rebuild Downtowns & Main Streets Capital Grant through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), contributing to the total estimated cost of $21 million.

Also, $2.5 million of the City’s REBUILD Illinois allocation from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will fund the Chicago Street reconstruction project, running concurrently with City Square.

Council accepted a $20.1 million bid from Austin Tyler Construction to serve as general contractor for the project. Construction will begin later this year and is expected to run through the end of 2025.

The design includes a central green space that is bifurcated by wide, paved pathways; a “red carpet” pavement connecting the square to the Rialto Square Theatre; a main permanent stage; a family gathering area with a smaller stage and interactive elements; shade structures; three planters with water features; trees within planters that provide additional seating opportunities; custom seating area; unique lighting; a large, outdoor, LED video screen; and a space for large-scale public art.

Lisa Dorothy, project manager and civil engineer, highlighted how the project will coordinate with the Chicago Street Reconstruction project.

“The Chicago Street Reconstruction project redesigns Chicago Street from Jefferson Street to Cass Street to reestablish the identity of this corridor as a street that is safe for all types of transportation. Both projects advance the high-level conceptual designs from the Chicago Street Corridor Plan adopted in 2018,” Dorothy said in a statement

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