Main Street Construction Planned for Year's End

(posted Mar 21)

The Main Streetscape Committee began its preliminary selection of likes and dislikes concerning the amenities that will change the face of Main Street for years to come.

If things fall into place, the Main Streetscape project could start by the fourth quarter of 2009. The Speedway Redevelopment Commission hopes to be able to obtain bids by September or October.

Committee members examined pictures of planters, street lights, tree grates, clocks, and benches at the March 17 meeting. Don Katterhenry pushed for the Acorn light fixture since it was a symbolic fixture that illuminated 13th, 14th and 15th Streets. He realized the Acorn light was not part of Main Street's history, but still thought the style should be on Main Street.

Amy Carroll wanted to retain Main Street's Art Deco era because of its uniqueness. She said most Main Streets in America have a Victorian style, not Art Deco.

Four staff members from American Structurepoint attended the meeting to guide the committee members as well as answer questions about architecture style and preliminary plans. One schematic shows three phases of Main Street that include parallel parking, angle parking and outdoor dining; plus allowing for a shared path and pedestrian walk.

SRC Executive Director Scott Harris said the area is critical due to the need to install new subsurface utilities that include storm and sewer separation.

Preliminary plans illustrated that sidewalks on the east side will move farther to the east to provide a shared path, Wall of Fame, and sidewalk. The west side changes allow for outdoor dining as well as a pedestrian walk that will be ADA compliant.

The proposed plan reduction in parking raised a concern with Chris Hill, owner of Dawson's On Main. He doubted if customers are willing to walk three blocks to go eat.

Harris said arrangements are being made with Praxair Surface Technologies to buy its current parking lot at 13th Street and the green space by 16th Street. Praxair would have space available to expand a building into the grassy area. He said security issues are being addressed in the arrangements.

Harris' comments did not totally allay Hill's concerns. Hill was concerned about the interim parking situation until arrangements are finalized with Praxair.

The SRC has been trying to acquire the green space at 16th and Main from Praxair since 2006.

Main Street's sidewalk amenities will wrap around into the side streets to give a uniform appearance. Bollards will be posted to protect pedestrians from cars. The preliminary plans call for a six inch rise in the street to slow traffic down to 20 mph to protect pedestrians.