Though the cat walked out of the bag a week ago during the Maryville City Council's budget workshop, the city and Northwest Missouri State University officially announced Wednesday their intention to partner on a project that could lead to street and sidewalk improvements along the Fourth Street corridor.
Titled the Fourth Street Improvement Project, the pact calls for Northwest and the city to split the $75,000 cost of engineering the corridor between the courthouse square and the main south entrance to the university.
If pushed to completion, the initiative would embrace installation of new sidewalks, lighting and pavement along the tree-lined street similar to the "streetscape" completed last summer around the square.
During the budget study session, City Manager Greg McDanel said that securing financial support from the university for the engineering portion of the project shortens the odds on receiving grant funds that could be used to finance construction, which has an estimated cost of $1.3 million.
City officials are working to prepare a request-for-qualifications document as a first step toward hiring a design firm to draw up the plans.
Improving the Fourth Street corridor would create a long-desired aesthetic link between the campus and downtown. Upgrading the thoroughfare is one of the goals set forth in a pair of recently drafted city planning documents addressing development possibilities downtown and across Maryville as a whole.
"From a streetscape perspective, the project will dramatically enhance the physical appearance and safety along the main gateway to the university," McDanel said in a prepared statement. "Through the beautification process, the project will celebrate the proud history between the community and Northwest while reflecting the design elements found throughout downtown Maryville."
McDanel said possible components of the project include a bicycle/pedestrian path along the north side of the street, a new sidewalk on the south side, wheelchair-friendly curbs, decorative light poles, driveway approaches, new curbs and gutters, a new asphalt driving surface, decorative concrete, landscaping, benches and public art.
"Northwest is pleased to partner with the city of Maryville on this project," said university President John Jasinski. "This is an exciting time for our university and the city. The Maryville community has shown Northwest, our students, employees and alumni tremendous support through the years. We are confident the Fourth Street corridor project, along with other planned community improvements, will couple nicely with our beautiful campus ..."