Downtown Naperville undergoes construction


Jay Deegan

Downtown Construction on April 13.

Nolan Shen, Staff Writer

A massive construction project is underway in Downtown Naperville in order to modernize the look and feel of the area. 

The project is being overseen by the Transportation, Engineering and Development Department (TED), led by director Bill Novack. It includes complete reconstruction of Main Street and Jackson Avenue within Naperville’s central business district. This reconstruction involves replacing both streets and sidewalks and installing new planters and LED street lights. 

The project also includes the replacement of the water main on Main Street, which is “over 100 years old,” according to Novack. 

Landlords of buildings in the construction zone initially brought the idea for the project to the city, proposing updated streets and sidewalks. 

Construction began March 3 and is expected to be completed by Labor Day. According to Novack, the total cost of the project is an estimated $4.987 million. 

Work was supposed to start at the beginning of 2020, but once the pandemic hit, plans were put on hold. Both the pandemic and inclement weather continued to delay the beginning of construction. 

City officials have been working closely with the Downtown Naperville Alliance, an organization that represents and advocates for Downtown businesses. 

According to Danielle Tufano, Executive Director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, the massive project is having a big impact on businesses downtown.

“Traffic downtown has dropped around 30% since the construction began,” Tufano said. “We knew that it was going to be a struggle for businesses in the construction zone.” 

Despite heavy construction, Tufano and the rest of the Downtown Naperville Alliance are trying their best to bring customers to downtown businesses. This includes “marketing efforts, event planning, and advocating for downtown businesses,” according to Tufano. 

Novack said the Downtown Naperville Alliance has “been very helpful and cooperative.” 

“Owners have been happy to see quick progress,” Novack said. 

Tufano shared a similar sentiment. 

“The TED department has been great to work with,” Tufano said. “The city has helped non-engineers like me understand what’s going on.”

Updates on the project from Novack, Tufano, and Mayor Steve Chirico can be found in the “Downtown Progress Report” video series.