Sidewalk and Streetscape Project Begins on Downer Place
The next phase of the Downer Place bridge construction project aimed at enhancing the vitality of the downtown and reducing pollutants entering the Fox River began on Monday.
The Downer Place streetscape project consists of the removal and replacement of the sidewalk and curb and gutter on both sides of Downer Place between the bridges. The final product will include landscaped areas, rain gardens, wider sidewalks and shorter, pedestrian-friendly brick crosswalks.
The City will construct rain gardens on the two south side corners of the Downer Place and Stolp Avenue intersection. The rain gardens will remove pollutants from storm water by filtering the runoff through native plantings and engineered soils prior to finding its way into the Fox River. The project is being paid in part with a $70,000 Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant Program sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
The new Downer Place vision stems back to a 2010 workshop with business owners and other local stakeholders giving input on how the street could be reshaped to best enhance Aurora’s downtown and provide more accessibility to businesses. When the new bridges open in November, the City plans to convert Downer Place and Benton Street between Broadway Avenue and Locust Street into two-way roadways with four-way stop signs at Stolp Avenue, replacing the current traffic signals. Downtown Benton Street already has been designated two-way this year as part of the Downer Place bridge detour route.
A majority of the streetscape work should be completed by mid-November. Plantings and the installation of brick crosswalks will be finished next spring.
The City’s goal is to minimize inconveniences caused by construction to the local business owners by maintaining access to their buildings. However, temporary sidewalk closures will be unavoidable during certain construction periods.
The City’s Downer Place bridge construction manager, HR Green, will be overseeing the streetscape work and assisting the downtown businesses and residents with any concerns. Downtown stakeholders who have questions about the project can call Brad Thompson with HR Green at 815-693-8905 or City Engineer Lonnie Avery at 630-256-3200 .