Front Street in downtown Labadie will be enhanced by a redevelopment project under way.
The Labadie Great Streets project, which is budgeted at $1 million, is funded 80 percent by the federal government and 20 percent by Franklin County.
The county recently awarded the contract to K.J. Unnerstall of Washington, which was the lowest of five bidders. The company bid $678,687.
The rest of the $1 million project price covered costs such as right of way acquisition and design.
The project will add a plethora of new features to the area in an attempt to spur commercial development.
“It will generate growth,” said Eva Gadcke, Franklin County’s highway administrator.
The Labadie project will be on a 600-foot stretch of Front Street from Highway T to Pacific Street. That section of street will be resurfaced and narrowed from its current 35 feet to 21-24 feet, Gadcke said.
Narrowing the street will hopefully encourage pedestrian traffic by slowing motorists, she added.
Drainage enhancements will be done by installing natural features called bioswales. Those features include vegetation such as natural grasses to absorb water, which currently pools because the area is in a floodplain.
The bioswales are an attempt to be environmentally sensitive, Franklin County Engineer Joe Feldmann said.
Other than improving drainage, the vegetation will have a dual benefit of being an attractive natural feature, Gadcke said.
A permeable pavement that absorbs water will also be used on the street to help with drainage.
Parking will be better organized, and a trail that currently ends at Front Street will be extended to Pacific Street.
Likewise, a new sidewalk will be added on the east side of Front Street.
New lighting, which will be in the historic character of the old railroad town, will also be installed, Gadcke noted.
More green space with trees and flowers will be added along Front Street, including covered seating areas to make the area more “inviting,” Gadcke said.
Some utility lines have already been moved for the project, but it is too late in the year to begin paving. The project is expected to be done in the spring.
The project has been planned for about five years.