City May Expand Downtown Enhancement Plans - The Missourian: Local News

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City May Expand Downtown Enhancement Plans

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Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 8:46 am | Updated: 8:53 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

Officials gave the nod Monday for a plan to spread the Main Street enhancement projects to other corners of downtown Union.

Community Development Director Joseph Graves requested that funds that now are being used for the downtown facade program be shifted to a fund in order to purchase trees, tree grates and trash cans.Under a facade grant plan, there was $10,000 set aside both last year and this fiscal year for downtown businesses seeking a makeover.

The matching fund program was open to any business in the B-1 zoning district and required city approval.The primary requirement is to make the downtown area more aesthetically pleasing.

“Unfortunately, we did not see the interest in the facade grant program, and to enhance the downtown area this was the approach we needed to take,” Graves said.

However, there was only one grant issued since the grant program began in 2011.

“We are doing away with that program,” Graves said.

He noted that there is $16,600 in the fund. The budget amendment would require approval of the full board of aldermen.

“To go along with the Main Street project, we want to carry that over to add benches and replace trees on other corners,” he said.

Graves added that there is enough in the fund to purchase four benches, 23 frontier elm trees and tree grates and four new trash cans.

Main Street Project

The Main Street portion of the downtown streetscape enhancements are funded by $310,515 in federal funds. 

The city is required to provide a match of over $100,000. The total cost of the project is estimated at $411,433.

When traveling west on Main Street, there is a gateway, or “portal” that includes one monument on each side of the street.

 That portal separates the residentially zoned district from the B-1 downtown businesses district.

There also is a wall that is being constructed on the south side of the road between McKinley Avenue and Linden Street to “screen out” a county parking lot. The wall is located across Main Street from the El Ranchito Mexican restaurant.

Plans also call for new sidewalks, with a foot-wide colored stamped stripe, on both sides of Main Street from McKinley Avenue to Washington Avenue.The project is slated to be complete in April, according to city officials.

Courthouse 

Franklin County officials granted an easement for the city to include seating and planters along Main Street on the north side of the Historic Franklin County Courthouse.

Plans call for seating and planters around a flagpole on the county property, as well as on the veterans memorial on the northwest corner of the courthouse square.

The additions on the county property will match other new benches and planters installed between McKinley and Washington avenues to provide more consistency in the downtown area.

There will be new bumpouts added at intersections where there were no bumpouts previously, and older bumpouts will be replaced.

There will be stamped concrete crosswalks along Main Street in the downtown district, and many Bradford pear trees will be removed and replaced with frontier elm trees.

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