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Set in Stone: Darien is a Nice Place to Live

If approved by the city council, Darien’s new entrance signs will welcome visitors at eight locations.

Darien officials had budgeted to remove and replace up to five of the city’s wooden entrance signs for a projected cost of about $150,000.  But through a series of cost-cutting measures, the municipal services department devised a way to welcome visitors to the community with eight signs for a little more than $105,000.

“By our contracting it out, breaking the project down into subsets and using city workers, that is what is saving us money,” said Ald. Joseph Marchese at Monday’s municipal services committee meeting.

Municipal Services Director Dan Gombac explained that once the project is approved, the city will act as general contractor, using its staff and equipment for such aspects as excavating, hauling, backfilling, spreading gravel and helping the stone masons put the signs and monument caps in place.

Each of the signs, which vary in width from 10 to 11 feet, would be have the words “City of Darien – a Nice Place to Live” sandblasted on the concrete face. The etched portion of the signs are designed to sit between two concrete masonry posts faced with cultured stone, accented by a grouping of perennial plants and flowers.

The new signs are proposed for 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, westbound

At the meeting Monday night, committee members accepted proposals from the following contractors for various portions of the sign project:

  • Presta Construction Inc., concrete footings and walls, $15,000
  • LaGrange Materials Inc., concrete masonry units, $1,265.90
  • Les Moore & Company LLC, cultured stone-shale Pro Fit Ledgestone, $11,650
  • Pro Masonry Express, 36-inch pier caps, $5,200
  • Pioneer Construction Inc., masonry work/placement of concrete block/cultured stone, $14,133.36
  • Meno Stone Company, stone monument signs with sandblasted letters, $15,000
  • Schramm Landscaping Inc., selected plant species, planting/mulching, $16,000
  • Christopher Burke Engineering, engineering plans for permitting through DuPage County, $18,000
  • City of Darien, steel brackets, stone, asphalt, soil excavation analysis, dump fees, trucking and contingencies, $8,800.

Gombac said DuPage County is currently reviewing plans for issuance of permits for the signs. Upon approval by the city council and receipt of the proper permits, the city will begin ordering materials for the project, which could get under way in late summer or early fall.

jim Prueter July 26, 2012 at 04:15 PM
this is a good idea. I think we should first look at the condition of the existing signs so the new ones don't go un maintained as the existing
Jim July 26, 2012 at 04:42 PM
waste of taxpayer!!!!
Gwynne Ameram July 26, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I guess the residents who live off of South Frontage Road aren't part of the city anymore since there is no sign on this side.
David May July 26, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Darien is indeed a nice place to live. It would be even nicer if we could finally get rid of the eyesore on the southeast corner of Cass and 75th.
Cheryl July 26, 2012 at 05:48 PM
That's a lot of money to tell people what town they are driving through. Are they really necessary and couldn't that money be better spent?
Barry Allen July 26, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Earlier in the year the question of keeping up our capital expenditures "burn rate" was raised by Mr. Avci. As a result, the ditch program was cut back until the future of such expenditures could be discussed in a planning session. The "off the cuff" discussion at the time included at least one comment that a tax increase may be necessary to maintain Darien's rate of capital expenditures. Darien is the poster child for the mixed message.
Brad Drake July 27, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I agree Barry. Our officials are willing to put up these signs (which are very nice by the way!) but we still have people with ditch issues that are being ignored. The priority should be service to the taxpayers, not fancy signs.

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