Thursday, March 7 2013, 12:30 AM CST
A small town street undergoes big changes
By Jessica De Nova/KTVL.com
CENTRAL POINT, Ore.-Front Street, or Highway 99, will to undergo changes that will forever alter local business and a nearby neighborhood.
The Front Street Streetscape Project is an attempt to make Hwy. 99 more user-friendly. "It's a bicycle-pedestrian project to enhance multi-mobile traffic from Crater High School down to the core of town down to Pine Street," said Director of Parks and Public Works, Matt Samitore.
Sidewalks and bike lanes along both sides, a new pedestrian crossing near the Rogue Creamery, trees and new medians are among the planned changes.
Partial funding came from the Oregon Department of Transportation Bicycle Pedestrian Grant Program "which pays for roughly $900,000 of the $1.2 million project. The other $300,000 is being used from city gas tax money and street utility fee money," said Samitore.
Also along Front St., new homes are going up again after a break as a result of the economy. "You know the last few years we've kind of slowly ramped it back up a little bit," said President of W.L. Moore Construction, Bret Moore.
Moore said, "there will be mixed-use buildings which will have commercial, professional and, you know, neighborhood-type commercial uses, in addition to housing" in the Twin Creeks neighborhood.
The developer said he is waiting to get enough people in his homes, to start work on an entrance near Crater High School into Twin Creeks, over the tracks off Hwy. 99.
"This project definitely ties into future plans for rail crossing 'cause the rail crossing would bring sidewalks down to the north entrance of Crater and this starts on the south side," said Samitore. He added, "Again, anyone living in the Twin Creeks area will be able to walk or bike from Twin Creeks into down town very safely and efficiently."
The Rogue Creamery plans to take part in the city's growth by changing up its look to be less industrial and putting up a plaza for pedestrians, bicyclists and their furry friends. "As the artisan corridor, we want to create this as a point of destination for the neighborhood, but also for the City of Central Point," said Rogue Creamery Plant Manager Craig Nelson.
Construction is set to begin by the end of April and go through the summer.