Merchants discuss work in Downtown Edgebrook
by BRIAN NADIG
Edgebrook merchants and residents met with city officials on July 25 to discuss ways to provide relief to area businesses that have suffered lost profits during months of traffic and parking lane closures in Downtown Edgebrook due to a sewer project.
Everyday Edgebrook treasurer Laura Guenther, who owns Local Goods Chicago, 5422 W. Devon Ave., said after the meeting that business owners were disappointed to learn that funds would not be available from the sewer project for a marketing campaign to help drive business back to Edgebrook.
"There has to be some money to make this happen," Guenther said.
Business owners are worried that customers who stopped coming to Edgebrook due to the traffic delays and congestion have developed new shopping and driving patterns and may not return to the business district, Guenther said.
Project representatives indicated that it might be possible to open a lane of parking on both sides of Devon Avenue between Central Avenue and Kinzua Avenue for 30 days beginning Aug. 6, Guenther said. The $5 million sewer project is expected to be completed in November.
Work on the project halted on July 13 after crews struck an unmarked cable under the railroad crossing on Devon. Devon was closed this week for Metra railroad crossing repairs. The closure should last through Aug. 4, according to a Metra spokeswoman.
It was reported at the meeting that a new location has to be found for the cable, which project officials described as "important," and it will take about a month to complete the relocation, Guenther said. A Metra spokeswoman has said that the cable could be related to train signaling and lighting.
A water department spokeswoman said that the cable belongs to Rogers Communications.
About 35 attended the meeting, which was organized by Everyday Edgebrook and held at North Branch Arts, 5421 W. Devon Ave. Attendees included representatives of aldermen Margaret Laurino (39th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st), city Department of Water Management, the Edgebrook-Sauganash Chamber of Commerce, the Edgebrook Community Association, Metra and the project’s construction company.
The sewer project is expected to reduce flooding in the Edgebrook area bounded by Caldwell Avenue to the north, Le Mai Avenue to the northwest, Tahoma and Hiawatha Avenues to the south, and Wildwood Avenue to the southeast.