Mount Prospect delays decision on pedestrian bridge across Northwest Highway

Updated 4/9/2018 7:50 PM

Mount Prospect is delaying action on an essential step to build a proposed pedestrian bridge across Northwest Highway that would link Meadows and Melas parks.

The village board last week tabled a decision on spending up to $124,000 on an engineering study necessary to make the project eligible for federal funds.


Trustees were uncomfortable moving ahead without other interested parties, including the Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights park districts, signing on to share the costs. The village will be contacting those entities before trustees vote on the engineering study.

"It feels like we are putting the cart in front of the horse," Trustee Paul Hoefert said before the board delayed the vote. "We haven't even decided that we're going to build this thing yet. I'm not saying that I'm against it, but somehow it feels like we should have at least some level of agreement among this board that, assuming we can get funding, assuming we get cost sharing, assuming, assuming, assuming, we want to build this thing."

The proposed pedestrian bridge would be constructed at the northeast corner of Melas Park and the southwest corner of Meadows Park. Officials have estimated the total cost of the project at about $3 million and believe federal grants could fund the majority of it.

Melas Park is jointly operated by the Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights park districts. It's owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and leased to the village of Mount Prospect.

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Mayor Arlene Juracek said the study is a needed first step in the process of building the bridge. It would analyze various bridge designs and even look at the possibility of an underpass.

"It's a lot of money, but I think it's the cost of due diligence for a project that a number of other entities have shown a positive interest in," she said.

"Well, I would show a positive interest, too, if I didn't have a horse in the game," Hoefert replied. "They don't have money in this yet."

Mount Prospect Park District Executive Director Dan Malartsik said the district does not have any money currently committed to the project.

"It's not like we don't know about it," he said. "We have had conversations and obviously it touches our parks, both Melas and Meadows. At this point in the game, we haven't put it on our capital list for our board to consider at all."

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