Commons paving remains unfinished

By Caryn Rosenberg

Although concrete repairs are completed in the King Memorial Commons, the paving remains unfinished.

Repairs began earlier this year to downgrade the sidewalks around the Martin Luther King memorial statue for two reasons.

In October, Eddie Williams, vice president for Finance and Planning, said the sidewalks needed to be lowered to alleviate the problem of puddles that could freeze and eventually lead to broken concrete.

He also said he did not want steps built around the statue because persons with disabilities would not be able to get close to the statue.

Although there were previous problems with the sidewalk surfaces crumbling last spring, Williams said he is not aware of any problems relating to the recently replaced sidewalks.

“The concrete work is done,” Williams said.

However, the bricks, or paving, still need to be completed.

“We had hoped to get those pavers in around the benches and around the statue itself,” Williams said.

Williams said he doesn’t know when the pavers will be finished laying the bricks because of delays related to the snow and cold weather.

“As soon as the paver people can get in there and do it, it will be done.”

Williams said the cost of the paving is being paid partly by sculpture artist Dann Nardi and partly by collections which were taken in for the statue by NIU.

“We’re still raising money,” Williams said. “Anyone who wants to contribute can do so through the foundation.”

Student Regent James Mertes said he has no complaints about the sidewalk itself.

“My concern is that we’ve had persistent sidewalk problems at the expense of Northern Illinois University,” Mertes said. “How many times do we have to tear up a sidewalk before we get the final version?”

Mertes said he hopes further sidewalk repairs will not be necessary.

“Hopefully, this will be the final version of the MLK Commons,” he said.