Park Forest Installing Fence Along Rt. 30, Sharrows Throughout Village

fence posts
Fence posts planted along Rt. 30. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Updated Friday, June 10, 10:26 p.m. to include an approximate map of the new fence and funding information on the new sidewalks on the south side of Rt. 30.

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Your tax dollars, but mostly grant dollars, are at work this summer, Park Forest.

At long last, the Village of Park Forest is planting a fence along Lincoln Highway. For a number of years, residents of the East and West Lincolnwood have been requesting the village do something about the older wooden fence, which had collapsed in many places, looking unsightly, to say the least. Other residents chimed in with criticism, as did non-residents I’ve spoken with through the years.

The issue, as with all things Park Forest, was cash and priorities. Where should a municipality with limited resources focus its resources, especially one which has worked to keep tax levy increases below 3% for so long?

Finally, with overwhelming help from grants, the village is getting a new, northern gateway appearance, so to speak.

Besides the fence, Park Forest is also laying a sidewalk, a long-needed addition to this heavily-trafficked stretch of Route 30.

According to Village Manager Tom Mick, the cost is around $700,000. The village match is in the neighborhood of $250,000, which means the VOPF grant writers came through again.

fence posts along Rd. 30
Fence posts along Rt. 30. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

“That includes the fence and the 20% match of the project,” Mick said.

Years ago, during my decade-plus on the board, village staff vastly expanded grant writing, and staff in many departments are now highly skilled grant writers. This investment has paid off, and continues to do so.

Tom Mick deserves ample credit. He says he is “elated” that this project is unfolding, “It’s been a long time. The biggest problem for us was finding the money to pay for it. It’s an ideal MFT [Motor Fuel Tax] project, but MFT funds are scarce, and to put them just towards the use of a limited segment of the community is really hard to justify.”

The fence will extend along the southern portion of Lincoln Highway from Indiana Street on the south to Brookwood Drive (Olympia Fields) on the north.

new fence along Lincoln Highway in Park Forest
The new fence (red line) will extend on the south side of Rt. 30 from Indiana St. to Brookwood Dr. in Olympia Fields. (Map: VOPF, edited ENEWSPF)

The new sidewalks on Lincoln Highway are being paid for from the General Fund, according to the manager.

In addition to the fence, now under construction, Manager Mick says all roadway sharrows that had been planned are now complete. Sharrows are pavement markings which indicate where people should cycle.

According to the manager, a sharrow defines where parking is for automobiles, gives an idea to cyclists where they ought to be, “and it reminds motorists that they’re supposed to share the road with bikes,” Mick said.

“Sharrows have gone down on Shabbona, Blackhawk, Lakewood, Orchard, Westwood, [and] Wildwood,” the manager said.

The sharrows were paid for “overwhelmingly” by a grant from IDOT, the manager said. The project cost in the neighborhood of $150,000. “About $120,000 of the project came from the grant,” Mick said.

The sharrows are a “direct offshoot” from the village’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan [PDF], Mick said.

Sharrow along Orchard Drive. (Photo: VOPF)

Gary Kopycinski is editor and publisher of eNews Park Forest. Follow him on Twitter at @GaryKopycinski and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FrodoJRR, or email him at [email protected]. He served as a village trustee in Park Forest from 2003-2006, and then again from 2007-2015. eNews Park Forest, Inc. is an independent media company and is not affiliated with the Village of Park Forest in any way.