Corridor Plan & Riverwalk Feasibility Study

Agency: American Planning Association
State: Federal
Type of Government: State & Local
NAICS Category:
  • 541330 - Engineering Services
  • 541611 - Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
  • 541620 - Environmental Consulting Services
  • 541690 - Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
  • 541990 - All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Posted Date: May 26, 2021
Due Date: Jun 24, 2021
Bid Source: Please Login to View Page
Contact information: Please Login to View Page
Bid Documents: Please Login to View Page
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Corridor Plan & Riverwalk Feasibility Study Village of Wheeling

Wheeling, IL

Request for Proposals - Village of Wheeling, Illinois

Restaurant Row Corridor Plan & Riverwalk Feasibility Study

The Village of Wheeling, population 38,555, a home rule community in the north-suburban Chicago area, is requesting proposals to create a unique, multi-discipline plan to reinvigorate Wheeling's Restaurant Row on Milwaukee Avenue through effective branding, place-making and strategies to fill available restaurant spaces, as well as to conduct a study of the feasibility of creating a riverwalk along the western edge of the Des Plaines River to help enhance the commercial businesses on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue by connecting them to this natural amenity.

The defined study area encompasses nearly all properties on Milwaukee Avenue within Wheeling as well as the abutting land along the Des Plaines River. Particular attention will be given to existing restaurant buildings as well as properties on Milwaukee Avenue that can accommodate food and beverage users.

Background Information

Wheeling's historic origins are closely tied to the hospitality industry: the community arose from a string of inns, taverns, and eateries that served travelers stopping overnight between Chicago and the Wisconsin Territory via the overland trail now known as Milwaukee Avenue. Since the 1970s, various iconic restaurants have operated along that thoroughfare — including Bob Chinn's Crab House, Le Francais, Phil Stefani's Tuscany, and Boston Fish Market, among others — which resulted in Milwaukee Avenue becoming known as Restaurant Row. However, the habits of dining patrons are ever-changing, and the Village of Wheeling is looking to take a proactive approach to ensure that Wheeling's Restaurant Row remains vibrant for future generations, one that respects existing establishments while laying the groundwork to capture new trends in the hospitality industry. The Village believes that creating a defined district through effective branding, establishing a unified streetscape design, and cohesively integrating several restaurant-themed elements along Milwaukee Avenue can help enhance the existing restaurant base and attract new food and beverage establishments.

In addition to enhancing Restaurant Row, the Village of Wheeling is desirous to determine the feasibility of constructing a riverwalk network up and down the west bank of the Des Plaines River to help connect properties on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue, especially restaurants, to this riverwalk. This concept is not new, as a riverwalk was recommended in the Wheeling Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2003 . However, recent attention has been directed to Milwaukee Avenue / Restaurant Row and the idea of a riverwalk as identified in the adopted 2021–2025 Wheeling Strategic Plan .

While in concept a riverwalk might extend from the north end of Wheeling by the Westin hotel heading south to Dam #1 Woods-West Picnic Grove, the reality is that there would be many private property owners, FEMA floodplain regulations, and other government agencies to work through in order to achieve this project scope. As such, alternative designs and project considerations are strongly encouraged to help evaluate the practicality of this concept throughout the Study Area.

To lay the groundwork for the Restaurant Row Corridor & Riverwalk Feasibility Study, the Village is requesting proposals that will advance the three main elements associated with the study, which are as follows:

  1. Create an effective branding, streetscape design, and place-making framework to help enhance Restaurant Row so people traveling down Milwaukee Avenue will clearly know that "I am in Wheeling's Restaurant Row."
  2. Determine the feasibility of a riverwalk on the west side of the Des Plaines River from Lake Cook Road to Dam #1 Picnic Grove in light of the needs and requirements of the property owners and corresponding agencies presented throughout the study. Alternative scenarios for designs of smaller scope should be presented if the three-mile riverwalk is not feasible, but these scenarios should emphasize the area from Dundee Road south to the Dam #1 Picnic Grove.
  3. Provide specific economic development strategies to market Restaurant Row, fill vacant restaurant spaces, and attract more guests to this area. The strategies identified should support, and should not cannibalize the market.

Project Tasks

Three overarching tasks associated with the Restaurant Row Corridor & Riverwalk Feasibility Study are outlined below.

Task 1 – Assess existing conditions, trends, and insights regarding Restaurant Row and the west bank of the Des Plaines River. This assessment may include:

  • Gathering property ownership and site condition information to help identify streetscape improvement locations and to determine the feasibility of establishing a riverwalk.
  • Centralizing all the studies, plans and other documents that intersect with this portion of Milwaukee Avenue and the Des Plaines River.
  • Gathering base maps such as floodplain, zoning, building and parking lot footprint, trail system, and multi-modal transportation routes, along with any other informative base maps.
    • A wetland delineation study may be needed to help determine the feasibility of a riverwalk.
  • Either interviewing Milwaukee Avenue property owners and businesses or distributing a long-form survey to the property owners and businesses within the study area to gather input and up-to-date information. A combination of both may be warranted.
    • The study will include the insights of business owners, property owners, and other stakeholders on the strengths, opportunities, and challenges facing Restaurant Row (see Task 3).
  • Gathering consumer data, restaurant trends, and other analysis to highlight the local and external forces impacting Restaurant Row.
  • Meeting with various organizations such as the Wheeling Park District, the Cook County Forest Preserve, and any other applicable stakeholders to gather a well-rounded perspective on the needs and opportunities of this portion of Milwaukee Avenue.
  • Creating and executing a public outreach campaign to raise awareness of desired outcomes and find a way to receive ideas which may be incorporated into the conceptual designs and recommendations. The selected team will host at least two public meetings during the study process.

Task 2 – Conceptual Designs and Alternative Riverwalk Evaluation

  • Identify specific points along Milwaukee Avenue where streetscape improvements can enhance Restaurant Row branding and place-making.
  • Create at least two "Restaurant Row" themed streetscape designs that enhance the Milwaukee Avenue / Restaurant Row branding. These elements will include, but not limited to, the following:
    • Streetscape banner designs
    • Streetscape furniture designs (lights, trash bins, benches, and other elements)
    • Interactive art installations
    • Other recommended supporting elements such as wayfinding signage, parameters for murals, and other place-making fixtures
  • Evaluate the feasibility of a riverwalk from the Westin hotel property by Lake Cook Road to Dam #1 Woods-West Picnic Grove. If the feasibility of such a riverwalk is limited, then identify alternative pathways, or similar amenities that would make advantageous use of the riverfront location of these properties. All riverwalk scenarios shall consider the type of path material, outside lighting, the width of the path, connections to the existing Des Plaines River Trail, and connections to the restaurants on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue. Emphasis should also be placed on properties owned by the Village or other public organizations to assist with identifying alternative options. One such option might be to create "parklets" up and down the west bank of the Des Plaines River that could be connected into a continuous riverwalk over time if conditions become more favorable. These parklets should be designed to enhance the connection from the adjacent commercial properties to the river.
  • Report the conceptual designs and riverwalk findings to the Village Board for discussion and direction prior to completion of the final report.

Task 3 – Final Report and Implementation of the Three Main Elements

  • The report shall visually identify proposed streetscape elements and also recommend locations for such improvements to ensure maximum benefit. Proposed streetscape elements should be of high impact and low maintenance. Additionally, the suggested streetscape elements and all other proposed improvements associated with the recommendations made in the final report should come with cost estimates to help the Village determine a timeline for funding and construction.
  • The recommendations shall include specific funding mechanisms for the identified improvements. Such funding sources may include:
    • Federal funding programs for recreational improvements
    • State resources
    • Public-private matching fund opportunities
    • Philanthropic sources that emphasize recreational infrastructure improvements
  • Based on the data and insights gathered, the report will also identify a comprehensive list of best-in-class recommendations that may include:
    • Specific strategies to encourage chefs and culinary companies to bring their concepts to Wheeling
    • Specific types of land uses and code update recommendations necessary to add innovative food and beverage businesses to Wheeling (e.g. shared kitchen facilities)
    • Identification of entry barriers that prevent new food and beverage businesses from coming to Restaurant Row, and specific recommendations and strategies to reduce or eliminate these barriers
    • Recommendations of ways to engage food-and-beverage-related groups (e.g. restaurant-focused commercial brokers and hospitality related business groups) that can add capacity in helping to implement these strategies

Proposals must be received no later than 4:00 PM on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Four (4) sealed paper copies must be delivered to:

Patrick Ainsworth, Director of Economic Development
Economic Development Department
2 Community Boulevard – Second Floor
Wheeling, IL 60090

Proposals submitted after the due date and time will not be accepted.

Note: Proposals will not be opened until the above-listed deadline. Please do not provide electronic copies unless asked to do so by the Village of Wheeling.

Submittal Requirements

Each submittal must include the information listed below, organized into the following six sections. Submittals should include material such as descriptions of sample projects, résumés of principal personnel, and references.

  1. 1. Project Understanding and Approach: Present your understanding of the project, and address how you will approach the tasks associated with completing each component of the project. Teams are encouraged to partner with other consultants/firms with specific expertise in each of the three topics identified in this RFP.
  2. 2. Schedule: The schedule should include projected timelines for all tasks of the project. The Village anticipates contract approval by August of 2021 and completion of the study by Q1/Q2 2022. According to this timeline, the awarded contract will span FY21 and FY22.
  3. 3. Experience: Describe any past experience with similar studies. Since this study involves elements from multiple fields, the Village anticipates that the chosen consultant team will draw from portions of other studies related to urban design, land use analysis, wetland delineation, branding and marketing, and community outreach. Teams are encouraged to provide examples of previous work that utilized such an approach.
  4. 4. Qualifications: Provide the qualifications of the principal staff who will complete the project (i.e. résumés, lists of relevant experience). Submittals should include a primary and secondary contact.
  5. 5. References: Provide a list of clients and projects similar in scope completed within the last five (5) years. Please emphasize references from projects that are most similar to this project.
  6. 6. Cost Estimate / Contract: Provide a detailed cost proposal for the entire study, including hourly rates, estimated amount of time spent on each task, and any other miscellaneous charges/costs.

If at least one consultant group requests clarification regarding the RFP, then Village staff will hold a virtual meeting on June 4, 2021 at 11 am. Invitations will only be emailed to teams that request a meeting. Meeting requests shall be sent to ; requestors will receive a link with the webinar login in response.

Evaluation Criteria and Selection Process

Village staff will evaluate the proposals based on the following criteria and ranking percentage:

  • Demonstration of understanding the project scope (30%)
  • Approach to project (30%)
  • Capability and experience (30%)
  • Ability to show that project deadlines can be met (10%)

Village staff will evaluate the proposals and determine the best consultant team to perform the work. Consultant interviews may be held if two or more proposals receive the highest ranking. The Village reserves the right to reject all proposals and release a new Request for Proposals if none of the proposals received by the deadline is found to be acceptable.


May 24, 2021 — Release Request for Proposals

June 4, 2021 — Village Staff hosts webinar for project description and Q&A (if requested);

June 24, 2021 — Responses due; responses opened

July 7–12, 2021 — Potential interviews with select consultant groups

July 22, 2021 — Selected consultant group notified

July 26, 2021 — Contract negotiations begin between Village and selected consultant group

August 16, 2021 — Village Board consideration of contract with selected consultant group

September 2021 — Project kickoff

Q1/Q2 2022 — Project completion

Please contact Patrick Ainsworth, AICP, Economic Development Director, with the Village of Wheeling at 847.499.9094 or at for questions or to request the PDF version of this RFP.

Request Type
Request Type
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Contact Information Contact Email

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