Published On: Wed, Jul 20th, 2011

City trims its Downtown plan

HARTINGTON — Hartington City Council members settled Wednesday on a smaller version of a downtown revitalization plan.
The original plan was estimated to cost over $4 million.
After taking a few days to look at the plan and ways to fund the project, board members voted in a special meeting Wednesday to approve a three block area on Broadway Avenue – from Franklin to Main streets, for the revitalization plan. The work is estimated to cost $1,340,000.

The plan will improve city streets and infrastructure.
The work will include installation of a new 12-inch water main.
“It will have to go south of Franklin Street in order to connect to a larger end. Right now the water main in the downtown area is only four or five inches,” said Councilman Gary Kruse, who served on the Downtown Revitilization Committee. “New storm sewers and new lighting will also be done.”
The city is in line to make an application for a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant to help fund the project.
Hartington had already been awarded grant funds close to nearly $30,000 which was to be used to complete a plan for the downtown revitalization project.
“We couldn’t do the whole project at once. We had to start somewhere. We are going for a $350,000 grant to get started with Phase Two,” Kruse said. “We had a grant for Phase One which put a plan in place. We have the plan – we can be working on it for the next 10  years or so.”
The full plan was not approved because Board members did not want to see an increase in property taxes. The Council is looking at bonding the project and making payments from money that is collected from a city sales tax.
“If it continues like it has for the past three years the project will all be funded with the city sales tax,” Kruse said.
A public hearing for Phase Two will be held within a few weeks – probably the first part of August.

The original plan covered five blocks on Broadway Avenue from Franklin to Felber street, along with one block to the east and west side on Main, State, and Centre streets and Madison Avenue. and the intersection at Elm and Summit.
The downtown revitalization plan called for updating the infrastructure which includes a new water main, addition of storm sewers and inlets, new concrete paving, sidewalks and decorative lighting with underground power for the downtown area.
Placement of two signs to direct people to the downtown area, remodeling storefronts to create a new look, tourism, arts and entertainment were also included in the original aspect of the plan.
Terry Meier and Troy Johnston, from JEO Consulting Group and a Revitalization Committee, which included residents from the community, have been working on the plan for several months.
Johnston told council members the committee had recommended updating the infrastructure in the downtown area first.