City shifts downtown property to Metro
KANKAKEE — The half-block parcel being targeted for the new River Valley Metro Mass Transit bus transfer station has been turned over to the transportation agency.
At Monday night’s Kankakee City Council meeting, the city approved an intergovernmental agreement to transfer the property.
The property, in the south half of the 300 block of North Schuyler Avenue — is where the transit organization plans to construct a new transfer station. Construction could begin this summer.
River Valley Metro is the fixed-route public bus system for the Kankakee-Bradley-Bourbonnais-Manteno area.
In January, River Valley CEO Rob Hoffmann said the first phase of construction will allow the system to get the buses off of the street and into a dedicated location for the transfers.
The $1.6 million first phase will clear the location and create an area where riders can gather to await several buses.
Because this is a metro project, the Illinois Department of Transportation said Metro must hold the property deeds.
On Tuesday, Hoffmann said if all goes well, the project could be designed and ready for the bidding process by June. According to that timeline, by late summer site demolition and prep work could begin.
“This is an extremely positive step. We’ve been working toward this day for many years,” Hoffmann said.
Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong noted the intergovernmental property transfer agreement was put in place to safeguard the city. She said if for some reason the project did not move forward, the property would return to city possession.
The transfer of riders has been taking place inthe 200 block of East Chestnut Street.
Hoffmann said the project could take as long as one construction season to complete. Final designs still are being put together. The plans must also be approved by IDOT.
The goal is to ultimately create an overhead cover for the station to protect bus riders from rain or snow. The area for riders would be slightly elevated and well lit. Hoffmann said there also is a possibly of having some type of heating system within the concrete platform to provent ice from forming.
A canopy to cover the platform and the awaiting buses would likely not be part of the initial construction.
The transfer station would consume the entire south half of the block, meaning the alley running through the middle of the block between the 300 block of North Schuyler and the 300 block of North Dearborn avenues would be vacated.
The station would feature a circular drive where several buses would be parked at once allowing riders to board different buses to complete their commute.