Downtown Sedalia began the third phase of the Historic Streetscape Project Monday.
Crews from several companies were at work in various capacities to begin a scheduled 90-day project that will see the streets taken down to their brick underlayment and replaced with concrete.
The existing sidewalks will also be replaced with concrete and brick pavers will be laid at the crosswalks. The street lamps will also be removed for renovation.
The infrastructure to the water supply in the area will also be addressed as crews will replace the water mains. The storm water drainage system will also be addressed.
The crown jewel of the project will be a gateway entrance to downtown Sedalia.
“We’ve worked with a design firm for over a three-year period to get to this point,” Meg Liston, administrator of Sedalia Downtown Development Inc., said. “It was recommended that we have a statement piece to draw attention to the downtown area under the DREAM Act from years ago.”
The gateway will cross Ohio Avenue and will be located near the intersection of Seventh Street and Broadway Boulevard.
“It will actually be closer to Broadway,” Liston said. “We wanted a piece that would be visible from Broadway to draw attention to the historic downtown area.”
Liston said the project began more than three years ago, but has taken this long to obtain the necessary funding, send the project out for bids and hire the firms involved.
“We’re glad to finally have the project underway,” Public Works Director Bill Beck said. “We wanted to wait until after the Scott Joplin (International Ragtime) Festival was over. We wanted to get started as soon as we could after that.”
Beck expects few, if any, difficulties, as this is the third phase in the project.
“We have a very good plan in place,” Beck commented. “These guys know what to do and what not to do. Many of them have worked on the two prior stages,” Beck added. “Hopefully, we won’t have any surprises.”
The project is funded through two sources.
The city received $284,280 from the Missouri Department of Transportation to cover the cost of the gateway and sidewalks. It requires a 20 percent match from the city.
The second source of funding came from the Federal government’s Surface Transportation Program (STP). It is for $407,000 and also requires a 20 percent match from Sedalia.
Beck did express the need for area residents to know that while the project is an inconvenience to merchants in the affected areas, the city and contractors are doing as much as possible to let people know the businesses are still open for customers.
“We know it’s a burden for the property owners,” Beck said. “The contractors have a plan to help relieve the congestion as much as possible. In a lot of respects it is a good opportunity for people to see what we’re doing and to take advantage of the time to shop as well.”
Local antique dealer and owner of Chelsie’s Antiques, Chelsie Kehde said her business was looking at innovative ways to let others know her business was open.
“We’re going to do our best to accommodate our customers and stay open,” Kehde said. “We’re going to do daily Facebook updates and specials on Facebook throughout the 90 days.
“If that means we have to deliver items to our customers, then we will,” Kehde said. “We’re going to get new signs letting customers where they can park, and open signs for the side of the building.”
Kehde said like most of the business owners on Ohio, her store was going to make the best of it until the work was completed.
“Now that we’ve started, we hope everyone can bear with us until the project is completed,” Beck said. “The end will be well worth it and should be something we can all be proud of.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484