Thursday, January 5, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
This year, Maywood is poised to embark on three major roadway improvement projects totaling over $1.6 million.
At a Dec. 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees authorized a resolution approving an agreement between the village and Hancock Engineering for $240,000 worth of services related to street, sideway, driveway apron and drainage improvements, among others, made to 17th Ave., from Madison St. to Washington Blvd. That total doesn’t include engineering-related costs.
Most of the funding for that project will come from a 2016 Community Development Block Grant program grant distributed to the village by Cook County. The village will pay roughly $52,000 for preliminary, design and construction engineering services from its motor tax fuel and corporate funds.
At a Jan. 4 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the board moved to approve at its next regular meeting around $1.15 million worth of roadway improvements for streets on 19th Ave., Quincy St., 4th Ave. and Wilcox.
All of the streets in those areas are within the Madison St. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, the funds from which will finance the project.
At a Dec. 14 LLOC meeting where the project was discussed at the urging of Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Mark Lucas, of Hancock Engineering, suggested that the board select the streets within the Madison St. TIF area that are in the worst condition and most in need of necessary repairs.
Lucas presented a map of streets needing work within the Madison St. TIF, with pink indicating moderate need for work, such as resurfacing; purple indicating the most need for work, such as wholesale reconstruction; and green indicating little to no need for work.
Those pink and purple streets within the Madison St. TIF, Lucas said, have repair needs totaling around $8.5 million in estimated construction costs.
One of the most critical streets requiring extensive repair is 19th Ave., between Madison St. and the southern limits of Winfield Scott Park, said Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr.
Norfleet said businesses in the area, such as Supreme Catering, 1900 S. Maywood Dr., have been requesting street improvements for a long time.
Norfleet said that the most recent Estimated Assessed Valuation of industrial properties in Maywood dropped approximately $10 million — which typically means higher property tax bills for property owners.
“One way to have our EAV come back up is to provide better services,” Norfleet said, adding that the section along 19th Ave. near Supreme Catering is among the worst streets in the village. “If we show businesses in our industrial areas that we’re investing in them, then that would help raise EAV and enhance [the quality] of businesses that are here.”
Norfleet said that a third major roadway improvement project could be in the works if the village obtains approximately $250,000 from the county. That money would be used to pay for improvements on 18th Ave., from Madison St. to Washington Blvd.
“That would be coming later and approval is tentatively set for February,” Norfleet said. “We have to get a letter off for additional funding and I’m told [the county] is highly considerate [of Maywood].”
Village Officials Discuss Limiting Semi-truck Traffic on 5th Ave.
A semi-truck smashing into the curved corner window of the Maywood Fine Arts (MFA) building at 25 N. 5th Avenue in 2015. | Maywood Fine Arts
During a Jan. 4 LLOC meeting, village board members directed staff to investigate the possibility of limiting semi-truck traffic in certain areas of 5th Ave.
The directive came at the insistence of Maywood Trustee Ron Rivers, who said he’d taken pictures of the truck traffic and discussed the matter with Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, who explained that he had gotten complaints about the semi-trucks from residents at MAPS [Maywood Alternative Policing Strategies] meetings.
“Since we’d be responsible for repairing 5th Ave., we should have some type of say-so about what vehicles are utilizing our streets, because they are absolutely deteriorating our streets. The sewers are starting to settle.”
“If we’re going to be vying for business and industry to come into the village, it becomes much more difficult to sell them a store front if they see dilapidated streets,” Talley said, adding that he wouldn’t suggest limiting truck traffic along the whole of 5th Ave. that spans Maywood; instead, he recommended limitations be placed on trucks traveling on 5th Ave. in the village’s designated downtown business district, mainly north of Quincy St. up to Lake St.
Trustee Michael Rogers suggested that the village consult with various stakeholders, such as the Maywood Chamber of Commerce, in order to come up with a comprehensive plan for limiting semi-truck traffic on 5th Ave., which could entail the implementation of weight limits and other measures designed to reduce heavy truck traffic.
Talley said that trucks could still utilize corridors such as 1st Ave., Lake St. and 9th Ave., which have streets that are graded for industrial traffic.
“That wouldn’t inconvenience those [truck] operators too much and then it would allow for the north side of 5th Ave. down to Quincy an opportunity to grow and develop,” Talley said.
Mayor Edwenna Perkins, however, cautioned village officials to include the businesses in the area in the process, since such inclusion, she said, hadn’t happened in the past when certain infrastructure decisions were made by the village. VFP