Joliet council to vote on $542,000 beautification plan for city entryways

Landscaping improvements to be made at 13 locations

This Raynor Avenue corner at Six Corners is one of the Joliet sites slated for landscaping improvements in the city plan to improve its entryways this year. June 17, 2024

The city of Joliet plans to spend $542,000 for landscaping improvements at 13 key entryway points of the city.

The beautification project was a campaign issue for Mayor Terry D’Arcy in 2023 and has been urged by residents off and on over the years.

But it’s costing about $250,000 more than the city expected when it budgeted for entryway improvements last year.

The City Council will vote Tuesday whether to add the $250,000 to its budget to pay for all the improvements planned this summer.

The money will help pay Allied Landscaping, which submitted the low bid to do the work for $484,195. One other bid came from Landworks Ltd. at $981,250.

The city also will buy plants directly at a cost of $68,058 from three companies – Mariani Plants, Midwest Groundcovers and Hortech Inc. The city will use money from a roadways budget to pay for the plants.

The city had estimated the project would cost $260,000.

That estimate did not take into account what Public Works Director Greg Ruddy said the bidders described as a “mobilization” factor, which raised the price because of the many locations in the plan.

“Because there are 13 different locations here, they feel that is what drove up the costs,” Ruddy told the City Council at a workshop meeting on Monday.

Those 13 sites “are the most high profile locations,” but the city hopes to expand the program next year.

Most of the sites have some landscaping, and some have monuments, signs or statues. But the plan is to improve them, especially with perennials that will provide a yearlong impact.

Six Corners in Joliet is one of the primary locations that would get a facelift in the city plan to improve entryways this year. June 17, 2024

The council’s Public Service Committee met on Monday and recommended approval of the extra $250,000 spending in a 2-1 vote with Larry Hug voting no without comment.

Committee members Pat Mudron and Sherri Reardon voted for the extra spending.

“It’s probably the subject that comes up most with residents and even non-residents – that our entryways need a facelift,” Reardon said.

Entryway sites in the program this year

• Six corners, which includes four of the 13 sites at four corners at the crossing of Plainfield Road, Raynor Avenue and Black Road/Ruby Street

• Chicago Street and Fifth Avenue

• Center and Marion streets, which is an entry point to the St. Pat’s Neighborhood

• Larkin Avenue and McDonough Street, an entry point to the city from Interstate 80 and one which Ruddy said “we hear a lot about.”

• Larkin Avenue and Theodore Street

• Broadway Street along the Broadway Greenway

• Route 6 and Gougar Road, which Ruddy described as “very plain” now

• Jefferson Street at the Joliet Regional Airport, an entry point from Interstate 55

• Black and Bronk roads

• Route 59 and Caton Farm Road

Sites being considered for future years include Collins Street at the Old Joliet Prison, Raynor and Jefferson streets, and a Cass Street location.