By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
A new pedestrian skybridge over Balmoral Drive connecting Rosemont’s 520,000 sq. ft. fashion outlet mall with the village’s massive William Street parking garage is so important to the village that if the full $15 million state grant is not received in time to start the project, Rosemont will pay the remaining amount.
In approving the ordinance at Wednesday's (Mar. 11) village board meeting, officials said Rosemont had already received $3.7 million of the state funds expected for the building of the $10 million skybridge and $5 million for restoration of the William Street parking area.
“If the state does not provide the full $15 million grant, the village will put up the remainder of the funds needed to complete this project,” Mayor Brad Stephens said after the meeting.
Initial plans for the skybridge are expected to be completed this week with construction to begin in the next two months or so, the Journal & Topics Newspapers first reported last week.
The proposed overhead walkway will allow thousands of people attending events at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and staying at nearby hotels to walk to the shopping center without having to deal with inclement weather and traffic.
Officials said at the board meeting that the skybridge is expected to also have an elevator to take pedestrians to the street below as well as to the mall.
Stephens said the $15 million state grant will fund the project as well as restoration work of the multi-level William Street garage, which is located directly east of the village’s entertainment district.
Rosemont recently completed major improvements to its existing skybridges that link the Hyatt Hotel, convention center and a public parking garage on the east to the William Street garage and several hotels on the west side of River Road.
“I hope we can complete the project this year,” Stephens said. He also said the overhead walkway could be connected to the Rosemont Theatre on River Road and nearby hotels in the future.
Stephens said the new walkway will be similar to the stretch of skybridge between the William garage and the Aloft hotel just south of MB Financial Park. He added that Degan Rosato and Power will perform construction work, saying they built the village’s two parking garages connected to the skybridge system.