Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grandview Moves Forward With "Phase 2" of Main Street Rehab

By Seann McAnally• JC Advocate
As the first phase of Grandview’s Main Street renovation wraps up, officials are on track to continue the improvements with phase two. The city had a public hearing on Tuesday to unveil plans to the public. 
   "I think it's great," said Joann Immele, who lives downtown. "I still want them to keep in mind the historical nature of the area, and keep that sense of place but bring it into the 21st century. It has a lot of amenities but an old-fashioned twist. I'd like to see valid businesses coming back to old Grandview."
   Elaine Brewer agreed. 
   "I think this is a very positive step that will hopefully make some people actually want to come off the highway," Brewer said. 
Sept. 6 Public Hearing
The first phase of Main Street improvements, which ran from 8th to 10th St., was finished on time and on budget (about $1.1 million), said Dennis Randolph, public works director. For the most part, the construction went without problems, though some local business owners complained of having Main Street shut down for several months, saying it hurt their business because customers would not “park and walk” on nearby streets.
That shouldn’t be a problem with the next phase of the project, which runs from 10th to 13th streets, Randolph said.
“This area is wider and we have more working room, so we’ll keep at least one lane open in each direction throughout the project,” he explained.
There is one exception – for a few days Main St. will be closed in between 12th and 13th streets to lay down a new water line. But that disruption should be minimal.
“Contractors have learned some things from the last job,” Randolph said. “Still, there will be some disruption, but a lot less than last time.”
The second phase will closely resemble what’s been done already – that is, repaved streets, decorative brickwork intersections and crosswalks, new streetlights and amenities like waste receptacles and benches.
“The feedback I’m getting is that people really like the way it looks,” Randolph said.
But the next phase won’t resemble phase one exactly.
“We’re going to continue that design, but we can change it slightly according to the nature of the area,” Randolph said.
For example, there will be no center dividing strip from 10th to 13th, as there is west of 10th, because the roadway is wider and there is less of a need to separate facing traffic. The plan calls for a “meandering” sidewalk and street amenities, including more trees.
“When you walk down Main Street, there is no shade,” Randolph said. “Some trees will really change the nature of the street.”
One addition will be an eye-catching gateway into the city – an arch that will span Main Street, near 12th St., bridging the corners from the Grandview Assistance Program building to a new City Hall driveway. Randolph came up with the design for the arch.
“We are blessed, as a city, to have a public works director who is so creative,” said Mayor Steve Dennis.
Randolph pointed out that, as city officials ponder new development on 150 Highway and redevelopment of the Truman Corners shopping center, the city has an opportunity
carry Main Street design elements into these other areas to give the city a cohesive look and feel.
“These themes can tie Grandview and all its pieces together as it gets rejuvenated,” Randolph said. “That makes us different from other communities, in that we have a real chance to do that.”
Overall, the project will cost some $1.5 to $1.7 million, Randolph said, from the transportation sales tax approved by voters last year. He hopes to put out a bid for construction work in late September.
“Hopefully we’ll get some work done this fall and over the winter,” he said. The north side of the street will be constructed first.
“Then we’ll clean up in May for the parade,” Randolph said, “and after that we’ll jump to the south side of the street and hopefully finish about August or September next year.”
Throughout the construction process, he said, city officials and contractors will hold regular meetings with property owners. The city will notify the public of those meeting times and places as the project gets closer to construction.
Kim Curtis, director of the Grandview Chamber of Commerce, said that this kind of construction always involves some “growing pains,” but it’s worth it.
“We’re very excited to see all the improvements taking place on Main Street,” she said. “We know it’s a work in progress, and it can be a struggle, but I think it will ultimately get more people downtown and in the end, they will spend more money there.”
She praised Randolph for his work on the project so far.
“Dennis Randolph is a genius,” Curtis said. “This is like nothing we’ve had before; it really sets downtown apart as a place. I think it’s great to see how proactive he is being."

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