City plans improvements to Lockport Old Canal Days site

People enjoy a nice Friday night at Lockport’s Canal Days on Friday, June 9, 2023.

Lockport — The Lockport City Council on March 6 approved work that will help make Old Canal Days more accessible for wheelchair users and those with strollers.

After some debate at the Feb. 21 Committee of the Whole meeting, the City Council voted to approve a plan that would create a paved path through the former Chevron property used for Old Canal Days. The land is mostly dirt and gravel, creating accessibility issues for some guests.

The plan allows for creating a pedestrian path north from Daviess Street to connect with Second Street, creating a more walkable pedestrian road for the festival, and constructing 23 paved handicapped parking spaces.

The approved budget for the project is $490,245, which will be paid to V3 Company for construction management.

The original plan did not incorporate curbs in the new road, as it was seen as serving little purpose without cars on the pavement or a need for drainage. However, Alderman Darren Deskin expressed concern that the lack of curbs would allow for the expensive paving to erode quickly at the edges.

The council voted to approve the plan last week, with the added stipulation that the Public Works Department consult with V3 and get an estimate for next year about what adding curbs would cost to protect the work.

“We’re already spending almost half a million dollars this year to put the road in,” Deskin said. “We can spend a little more next year to protect it.”

During the Committee of the Whole meeting, more improvements in the area of the Chevron property were discussed as two intergovernmental agreements were approved to go to the March 20 consent agenda.

One agreement was created between the city of Lockport and the Will County Forest Preserve to acquire a vacant parcel of land at the southwest corner of Ames and 10th streets.

The property is privately owned and the Forest Preserve wants to use it to develop the proposed pedestrian and bike “loop trail.”

Lockport intends to purchase the land for $30,000, half of which will be provided by the Forest Preserve District, and give the land to the Forest Preserve. As part of the future development of the land, a memorial will be built on the parcel to former Lockport officials and employees who have died, which the city will pay for.

The second agreement is between the city of Lockport and the Lockport Township Park District for a related project.

The Park District owns 3.08 acres of property known as the “Vacant Vine Street Parcel” that it plans to give to the city, which owns the adjacent property to the north and west. This property also could be used for the development of the loop trail.