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St. Charles aldermen OK extra expense for parking lot

ST. CHARLES – It’s going to cost the city nearly $52,000 over budget to build a parking lot at the former Veterans of Foreign Wars property in downtown St. Charles, and aldermen are fine with that.

The city recently purchased the property at 119 N. Third St.

Public Works Director Mark Koenen told the Government Services Committee on Monday that the city – which budgeted $200,000 for the project – has spent about $81,000 on environmental remediation and demolition costs, leaving only $119,000 for construction.

A Lamp Concrete Inc. of Schaumburg submitted the lowest proposal for construction at $170,660, exceeding the total project budget by $51,660, Koenen said.

What happened, he said, is the city budgeted about $25,000 for the demolition of the VFW building, but the actual costs were about $75,000.

“There is the explanation,” Koenen said.

Aldermen had three choices, he said:

• As originally planned, reconstruct the existing lot with the addition of the new lot where the VFW was and amend the budget by about $50,000.

• Build a new lot where the building was, but only perform grinding, resurfacing and re-striping on the existing southern lot. This option would be about $26,353 over budget and would have less green space than the other option.

• Research options that would cost even less, thus delaying the process.

Koenen noted the city has money from the Red Gate Bridge levy to help pay for the overbudgeted items, and the work could be completed by Scarecrow Fest in October.

Referring to the second option, 5th Ward Alderman Ed Bessner asked whether the southern lot would have the same life span as the new north lot.

Koenen compared it to an older house, saying some maintenance would likely be needed on the resurfaced parking lot.

Several aldermen indicated they’d like the project done correctly.

“As much as I hate to spend the money, I want to do it right the first time,” 1st Ward Alderman Ron Silkaitis said. “I think it’s worth it.”

The committee unanimously endorsed the original plan. Fifth Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis was absent.

In other news, the committee was expected to consider about $125,000 in improvements to a downtown property it bought last year, the former George’s Sporting Goods at 107-109 E. Main St. Aldermen instead tabled the item with no explanation.

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