Village examines Prairie Park needs

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Prairie Park at North and Third streets needs work, said Elburn Public Works Committee Chairman Jerry Schmidt.

The committee on Monday discussed items needing attention at the park, including a falling footbridge, overgrown weeds and invasive plants, as well as the walkways.

The village will address the weed problem first by holding a controlled burn of the park’s landscape sometime next week.

Last spring, Public Works Supervisor John Nevenhoven identified another project that needs attention—removing and possibly replacing the footbridge across a stream at the park. However, the Village Board did not include the expenditure in the 2009 fiscal-year budget.

Nevenhoven said Monday that the state of the bridge is even worse now, and the structure currently is potentially hazardous.

“The bridge was safe until last week, when someone walked on the guard rail. Now the rail is bent out of shape,” Nevenhoven said.

In addition, some of the bridge’s supports are cracking and heaving.

The Public Works Department recently placed tape and barriers at each end of the bridge to let people know they should not use it.
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Nevenhoven again recommended that village officials include the bridge project expense in the next annual budget.

“We wouldn’t have to replace it. We could put in plantings instead, with a concrete overlook,” Nevenhoven said.

Schmidt said he does not want to do away with the bridge.

“I think it would be nice if we could save it,” he said.

The committee asked Nevenhoven to look into the cost for removing and rebuilding the bridge, with a design that includes deeper installation for its piers.

For the time being, the Public Works Department will make sure the bridge remains blocked off, Nevenhoven said.

Schmidt also asked Nevenhoven to identify a way to improve the flagstone walks at the park, which he said are shifting and could be unsafe.

Photo: The village of Elburn blocked off the footbridge at Prairie Park because a vandalized
railing and other weaknesses in the structure make it potentially hazardous.
Photo by Martha Quetsch