More details about proposed construction of a new "streetscape" along the West Fourth Street corridor between the courthouse square and Northwest Missouri State University emerged this week during a presentation before the City Council by John Chamberlain of SK Design Group.
The Overland Park, Kan., firm, hired by the city to engineer the project, has completed a detailed set of conceptual plans calling for new sidewalks, a paved bicycle path, retaining walls, LED street lights and extensive landscaping.
If the the proposal is implemented in its entirety, the cost of rehabbing the street, which is lined with parking lots, empty commercial structures, rental properties and aging houses, would come in at around $2 million, about $500,000 more than initial estimates.
That is not an impossible hurdle, given that the city expects to receive nearly $730,000 from an approved $240,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant through the Missouri Department of Transportation and a $487,000 tax credit package granted by the state Department of Economic Development. The tax credits are to be sold through Nodaway County Economic Development to groups and individuals willing to invest in the project.
City Manager Greg McDanel has recommended that the council consider moving forward on the streetscape initiative in phases rather than waiting until all the funding is in place.
If the council adopts SK's plan, phase one would embrace a 10-foot pedestrian/bicycle path on the north side of the east-west street and reconfiguration of an awkward three-way interchange where Fourth Street becomes College Avenue and intersects with North Dunn.
Chamberlain estimated phase-one costs at $940,000, and set the price tag for phase two, which would embrace the south side of the street and include a new five-foot-wide sidewalk, at $920,000. Phase three, the milling and asphalt overlay of the street itself, will require approximately $93,000.
One fairly large variable is lighting, which could add or subtract as much as $100,000 to the total project cost.
Chamberlain laid out several options for the council that boil down to decorative, vintage-style lampposts on both sides of the street or some combination of decorative posts and modern street lights on one or both sides of the corridor.
Other streetscape features presented to the council Monday included a combination of concrete and modular stone retaining walls and extensive landscaping ranging from oaks and maples near the main entrance to the university to smaller ornamental trees and flowering shrubs closer to downtown.
Chamberlain also suggested eliminating several curb cuts and commercial driveways that currently empty on to Fourth Street between Buchanan and Mulberry.
A proposed archway over Main Street marking the downtown entryway to the new corridor has been scrubbed from the conceptual plan, at least for the present.
In another street-related discussion, the council signaled approval Monday for overlaying badly dilapidated South Walnut Street with new asphalt between West Lincoln and First Street, a distance of nearly 2,800 linear feet.
Page 2 of 2 - Walnut is also in rough shape on the north side of First Street, but the city is hoping new zoning rules and a campaign to tear down derelict houses will lead to significant demolition and redevelopment in that neighborhood.
McDanel said such activity would mean increased truck traffic and more pavement cuts for new infrastructure, which he believes would make improving North Walnut impractical at the present time.
Cost of the Walnut project is estimated at $97,000 and will be the only mill-and-overlay project undertaken by the city this year.
A third transportation issue before the council Monday affects current efforts to rebuild South Depot Street between First Street and Halsey. McDanel told the council that the contractor, Loch Sand & Construction, has notified the city that it is unable to complete the project in accordance with its contract.
McDanel said Loch is currently in negotiations with another Maryville company, White Cloud Engineering & Construction, which has tentative plans to assume responsibility for the job. Now about one-quarter compete, the Depot rebuild has suffered delays caused by weather and utility relocations.