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Land acquisitions to begin for Deerfield Road sidewalk project

Deerfield needs to acquire 'small strip of property' for parkway buffer between Deerfield Road and sidewalk

Deerfield soon will begin acquiring private land from homeowners to allow for sidewalk improvements on the south side of Deerfield road, village officials said recently.

It's hoped that new sidewalk will improve pedestrian safety by providing a parkway buffer between the busy Deerfield Road and the sidewalk, said Bob Phillips, assistant director of public works and engineering.

The sidewalk project will be undertaken in conjunction with the major reconstruction of Deerfield Road, now slated to begin in 2016.

The "small strip of property" that the village needs to acquire extends across eight or nine private residences, District 109 property and the Briarwood Country Club, Phillips said. ComEd utility poles will be moved into the newly acquired property to allow for the buffer from the road.

"The timing of this is very important," Phillips said at a recent village board meeting. "We want to start the negotiations as soon as possible."

Appraisals were done in May, he said.

Last week, the Deerfield Village Board approved an agreement with Santacruz Land Acquisitions for $34,800 to negotiate the land acquisitions with the property owners for the sidewalk project.

Once negotiations are complete, Phillips said, final costs will be brought back to the village board for approval, he said.

None of the homeowners who would be affected by the project spoke at the recent meeting, but several of them have spoken in opposition to the project in past media interviews.

Mayor Harriet Rosenthal questioned language in the agreement that included managing "costs of condemnation litigation."

"I didn't think we were going there," Rosenthal said.

Phillips said he thought that was part of the company's standard contract language.

"It may be boilerplate," Rosenthal said. "But we don't want it in there."

Deerfield Village Board also approved negotiations for land acquisition for nine traffic signals as part of the Deerfield Road project. That contract will be awarded to Christopher B. Burke Engineering for $99,225; the work will be subcontracted to Santacruz Land Acquisitions, according to village board documents.

As part of the pending jurisdictional transfer of Deerfield Road — from Deerfield to Lake County — Lake County is requiring that the village reconstruct the traffic signals, Phillips said.

The village owns most of the traffic signal property, Phillips said. The property required to be purchased is privately owned by businesses that would benefit from the traffic signal upgrades.

"So we believe the negotiations will go relatively well with that," Phillips said.

The Deerfield Road reconstruction project involves replacement of existing water mains, storm and sanitary sewers, and traffic signals, between Rosemary Terrace in Deerfield and Ridge Road in Highland Park, according to village board documents.

The project also includes the pavement patching, grinding and resurfacing of the road between the Metra underpass and Rosemary Terrace, according to village documents.

The estimated construction cost for the Deerfield Road project is $12.5 million, Phillips said, or about $15 million total with engineering included. Deerfield will only pay about $1.5 million for construction, he said, with an additional $200,000 or so for engineering.

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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