MORRIS – Grundy County Corn Festival crowds will have more parking space this summer thanks to a new public lot being constructed on the corner of Wauponsee and Illinois streets.
The Morris City Council approved Monday a bid from “D” Construction contractors of Coal City to build the new parking lot.
The city is paying “D” Construction $53,000 to complete the project which will include laying the concrete base and finishing the curbs. Paving of the new lot will be completed in-house by the city’s street and alley crews.
“There is nothing but an empty lot there right now,” Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said Tuesday. “The city has been working on acquiring those lots for quite some time now.”
In 2011, the city purchased property across the street from the former FireHouse Restaurant on Wauponsee, which included the former Sam’s Pizza building that has since been demolished. The last step was purchasing a small house next to the property to have all the land the city wanted for the new parking lot. The city has since purchased the house for about $30,000 and closed on it earlier this year. It has not yet been demolished.
The parking lot is expected to help alleviate some of the parking congestion during downtown Morris’s summer festivals, but will be an everyday resource for downtown employees and visitors, Kopczick said.
“D” Construction bid the project about $4,000 less than the original engineer estimate and was about $5,000 lower than the next bid.
The lot is scheduled for completion this summer, before the 2014 Corn Festival begins.
“D” Construction was awarded another bid Monday for a separate project involving the repaving of several local streets and alleys.
The council accepted a $281,650 bid from “D” Construction to grind and repave the streets, pending approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation. “D” Construction was the only company that returned a bid for this project.
City officials are still narrowing down which city streets will have the work done.
The city needs state approval for the project because it is being funded through the Motor Fuel Tax Fund which must be supervised by IDOT.
“We take a portion of the money we receive from Motor Fuel Tax and look at the streets in the city that need work,” Kopczick said. “We use TIF (tax increment finance) dollars, general fund dollars and motor fuel dollars for our street and alley program, so we’re not hitting just one fund.”