City hosts presentation on Downtown Streetscape at 5 p.m. Tuesday

Downtown transformation plans topic of public meeting

A downtown Center streetscape renovation project presentation open to the public is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at Center City Hall.

“The project design team and engineers will be presenting the final recommendations for major renovation of the entire square,” said City Manager Chad Nehring. Input from the public and stakeholders in the downtown area is welcomed and appreciated, he said.

Nehring said final decisions and adjustments will be made in coming days for the final plans.

“This is the last opportunity for questions and input on finishes, design, construction process, etc., prior to the final soliciting bids for construction,” he said.

Deborah Chadwick, president of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, said she is looking forward to the finished project.

“The end result is going to be a beautiful downtown area for us to enjoy and one that will hopefully attract many more visitors,” she said. The chamber membership is working closely with the city to help ensure property owners and business owners are well informed regarding the process and timeline for the renovation project.

Chadwick encourages all property owners, business operators and others impacted by the project along with the general public to attend Tuesday's meeting.

“This will be an excellent opportunity to see blueprints and ask questions,” she said. As the project progresses efforts will be made to keep the public updated through correspondence and possibly additional meetings.

“The streetscape project is a huge undertaking that will require our patience and understanding,” Chadwick said.

Another informational meeting on the project is set for 8:30 a.m., April 23, at Shelby Savings Bank during the monthly meeting of the Center Small Business Association. This meeting is being coordinated by the association in conjunction with the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

At a March City Council meeting Nehring outlined the projected timeline for the streetscape for what is expected to happen after Tuesday's meeting.

“Once any final details or adjustments are worked out from this presentation, the project will be advertised for bids, which is at least a 60-day process before awarding a construction contract,” he said.

Nehring said if progress moves forward as planned then there could be a review and awarding of construction bids by June 10. That could put construction kicking off in the July-August timeframe, he said.

I realize construction can present some difficulties, but our goal is to work with everyone and find a contractor that will accommodate,” he said. Now that completion of plans can reasonably be projected, Nehring said a timeline could be established.

He said construction will not start until after the conclusion of Center's What-A-Melon Festival. Nehring also said plans call for minimizing the impact of the project during the October Poultry Festival and Christmas Parade and holiday season.

For example, the Oct. 3-5 Poultry Festival will be among the designated “no construction” dates.

The long-planned and discussed downtown streetscape project received a major boost this past November when the Center City Council unanimously approved plans to move forward.

The project has been in the conception and early design phases for about a decade, officials said.

In November council approved a contract with Everette Griffith Jr. and Associates to prepare final bid plans and specifications for the downtown streetscape project.

Bob Staehes, physical engineer, will serve as project manager for the firm under the agreement with the city.

Construction is expected to take about a year putting completion in the summer of 2020.

Among details of the anticipated Streetscape timeline, are:

• April 16 — A scheduled special city council meeting and public presentation by the project design team;

• April 22 — Consideration by council of final plan approval and authorization to bid and consider a preliminary ordinance for intent to issue the certificates of obligation which will be used to finance most of the project;

• May 2 — Advertise for bids;

• June 4 — Tentative date for opening bids;

• June 10 — Presentation of bids to city council and possible awarding of a bid for construction — if bids are received within budget parameters as determined by the council; and consideration of approving an ordinance to issue the certificates of obligation;

• June 25 — Pre-construction conference with contractor and design team;

• July 15 — Estimated start of construction;

• July 22 — Estimated date for sale of 2020 certificates of obligation.

NOTE: Dates are subject to change