March 19, 2024

Oak Brook Park District using $1.4 million federal grant for bridge replacement project

The Oak Brook Park District has been awarded a grant of more than $1.4 million that will be used for the Ginger Creek Accessible Pedestrian Bridge and Shoreline Improvement Project.

Specifically, the grant is from the HUD Community Project Funding Package included in the Federal 2024 Appropriations Bill and will be used to replace the existing bridge at Central Park.

The Park District’s executive director, Laure Kosey, said the grant funding will be used to replace the existing bridge crossing with an ADA-accessible bridge, replacement of the low-head dam and gabion weir structure with natural rock riffles and step pools, and some shoreline restoration around the bridge crossing.

“The Park District began considering bridge replacement after the north athletic fields property was acquired from the McDonald’s Corporation through the 2018 referendum,” Kosey said. “The existing bridge crossing does not meet ADA requirements. Furthermore, the bridge crossing frequently floods over after rainfall, making it impossible to cross Ginger Creek at that location. A study of the bridge, dam, and gabion weir conducted in 2023 indicated that while the bridge crossing and dam are stable, the adjacent gabion weir walls were in poor condition.”

The existing bridge crossing was installed in 1982 over the dam and weir structures, which were installed in 1976, Kosey said.
She said the Park District reached out in March 2023 to U.S. Rep. Sean Casten’s office to request that this project be considered for a Community Project Funding Grant.

“The Park District submitted an initial cost estimate of $1.4 million and documentation supporting the need to replace the bridge, dam, and gabion weir structures,” she said.

Kosey said the park district was notified in April 2023 that the project was accepted, but the funding would be limited to $850,000. However, in March of 2024, Casten’s office notified the park district that the project would be funded at the requested amount of $1.4 million.

“Our team focuses on inclusion and desires to not only make this bridge safer but accessible for all,” Kosey said.

Casten was pleased with securing the grant for the Park Ddistrict.

“I’m thrilled to deliver $1,466,279 in federal funding for the Ginger Creek crossing,” he said in a statement. “This restoration will ensure a new safe, flood-proof bridge for the community of Oak Brook.”

Kosey said the park district is working with V3 Engineering to update the cost analysis that was performed in early 2023, and construction, which should be a four-month process, is anticipated to begin in 2025.

“The planning process is already underway, but the permitting has a lengthy lead time,” she said.

The existing bridge will continue to be in use until construction begins, Kosey said.

“During the construction phase, pedestrians will be directed to use the paved pathway on the west side of Jorie Boulevard to cross between Central Park and the north athletic fields,” she said.

By:  Chuck Fieldman
Source: Chicago Tribune