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A Sign of the Times: Welcome to Darien

City Council approves new stone signs at eight locations.

The city council gave a green light Monday to a proposed new entrance sign project, which will welcome visitors and residents to Darien at eight separate locations with the words, “City of Darien – a Nice Place to Live.”

Council members authorized city staff to proceed with the project at a cost not to exceed $85,600. Municipal Services Director Dan Gombac estimated that including engineering costs and city workers’ labor, the total cost of the sign project will be about $103,600.

The original budgeted amount was $108,000 for only five signs. But with the city acting as general contractor and by subcontracting out portions of the project to separate contractors, the municipality can add three entrance signs and still remain under the original budgeted amount, Gombac said.

In response to a resident who thought the expense of the entrance signs was too high, especially during tough economic times, several aldermen defended the expenditure.

“We are thinking long term,” said Ald. Tina Beilke, who added that some of the city’s existing signs are currently in need of repair. She said the new stone signs will last far longer than the wooden versions.

Ald. Joseph Marchese reminded the resident that a previous recommendation by a citizens’ committee had recommended a design for gateway signs that would have cost more than $100,000 each.

“(These signs) are very reasonable and very nice,” Marchese said of the new design approved Monday night. “They will approve the attractiveness of the city.”

Gombac said the city is in the process of securing permits from DuPage County. Once the permits are in place, the  municipal services department will order materials for the project and begin excavation for the sign footings.

“This has been a long time coming,” said City Administrator Bryon Vana. He said that although the scope of work has changed over the years, the entrance sign project has been “on the docket” since about 2002.

The new signs will be placed at the following locations:

  • 75th Street west of Sawmill Creek
  • Cass Avenue, 6800 block, southbound
  • Cass Avenue, North Frontage Road (Hinswood Drive) northbound
  • Lemont Road, North Frontage Road/Cheese Road and Lemont Road northbound
  • Plainfield Road/83rd Street, east of Woodward Avenue; Darien/Woodridge jurisdiction
  • 87th Street (Boughton Road) and Ailsworth Drive, eastbound
  • Plainfield Road, fronting Crest Basin, westbound
  • 75th Street, east of Lemont Road, eastbound
Michael Thomas August 08, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I don't mind the city getting new signs I just think over 100k is a lot of money to spend when there are a lot of other things that need to be done in Darien. And just as I'm thinking about this what ever happened to Chase bank coming into town, is that still a go and when will we see any construction being started. I think is has been at least 6 months since we were told they were coming to town.
Colleen Corey August 08, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I think it's a good project that has been a long time coming. It will improve the look of our city, and it will help make our city boundaries more evident. We are the last of the surrounding communities to make such an improvement.
Linda Ozbolt August 08, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Michael, I am checking with city officials for an update on the Chase Bank project. Thank you for your interest!
F Scholer August 11, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Let's see. The economy is in the toilet. Sales tax revenue is down. The state is late sending us money due us. And the city wants to blow close to $100,000 to tell us where we live? How about spending that money on infrastructure and to pay the city manager's increase in salary. I need an aspirin. Frank scholer
F Scholer August 11, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Why must we be lemmings. They all do it therefore we must do it. Frank scholer

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