Chicago Construction News staff writer
The City of Evanston has committed $92.5 million for capital improvement projects in 2023, including funding for parks, facilities, streetscape and utilities. Here are 10 major improvement projects to look for in Evanston this year. Highlights of the plan include:
New Skate Park
Construction of a new skate park at the east end of Twiggs Park is expected to begin this spring with completion in the late fall. The park will feature areas for beginners through advanced skaters, including an in-ground concrete bowl, grind rails, and steps.
Reopening of the Dog Beach
Following several years of high Lake Michigan water levels, the dog beach has recently reappeared. This spring and summer, the City will be working to make the beach accessible to community members and pets.
New Evanston Animal Shelter
In early spring, construction will begin on a new animal shelter, with funding support from Cook County.
Owned by the city and operated by the Evanston Animal Shelter Association, the existing shelter will be demolished and replaced with a modern facility providing increased capacity for dogs and cats, accommodating best practices for animal care, and meeting current building and fire code requirements.
Ecology Center Improvements
In late fall, renovations and repairs are scheduled at the Evanston Ecology Center, including restroom improvements, customer service desk and office space updates, floor system repairs, and water service maintenance.
Oakton Street Corridor
The Oakton Street Corridor, from Asbury Avenue to the west city limits, will see significant improvements in 2023, including a new shared pedestrian and bike path on the south side of the street, traffic signal, lighting and intersection upgrades, ADA improvements, transit stop improvements, and more. This project received a $500,000 grant from Cook County, and will begin in the spring with completion expected by the end of 2023.
Main Street Corridor
The final phase of the Main Street Corridor Improvement Project, from Maple to Hinman Avenue will happen from spring through fall. In 2021, the completed replacement of the century-old water main beneath the street. This year, the final phase of the project will include streetscape and sidewalk improvements, new lighting, landscaping, and improved pedestrian crossings. The project is supported by grant funds from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Green Infrastructure Program and the Cook County Invest in Cook Program.
Sidewalk Gap Infill
Work will continue to fill in sidewalk gaps, increasing walkability and accessibility for all users. Focus areas include locations adjacent to schools, hospitals and medical facilities, community centers and parks, public transit and businesses. 2023 infill locations include Leland Avenue north of Lyons Street and Brown Avenue north of Main Street. (Pictured above: New sidewalk along Foster Street across from the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, installed in 2022.)
Ridge Avenue Intersection Improvements
Safety improvements will begin in June on major intersections along Ridge Avenue from Oakton to Church Streets as part of a project supported by Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grant funding. The project will include traffic signal upgrades, street alignment improvements, new lighting, pedestrian countdown timers, and new left turn lane signals at major east/west cross streets.
Lead Service Line Replacement
Lead Service Line Replace (LSLR) Pilot Project will continue in 2023 with up to 600 private lead service lines were identified to be eligible for replacement, and up to 150 are anticipated to be replaced this year. City staff is reaching out to properties who qualify for this program, focusing on areas where public-side lead service lines have been replaced as part of previous water main projects.
36-/42-inch Diameter Water Plant Intake Replacement
Starting this year, the city will replace the oldest water intake at the Evanston Water Utility. Built in 1909, the intake has reached the end of its useful life and will be replaced with a 60-inch diameter pipeline that extends approximately one mile into Lake Michigan, providing a reliable source of water for almost 500,000 people and 60,000 businesses throughout Evanston and eight other communities in the region for decades to come.
This $56 million project is funded by low-interest loans through the federal WIFIA program and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency State Revolving Fund program. Construction will begin as early as February 2023 and continue to the end of 2024.