Euclid Avenue in the Central West End is scheduled for a major “Green” makeover. The stretch between Lindell and Forest Park will eventually be transformed with wider sidewalks, environmentally friendly rain gardens and new LED lighting just to name a few. The first phase of the new streetscape is being installed as a part of the new medical office tower now under construction. Tara Bolen from Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation (WUMCRC) sat down with Dan Krasnoff from Park Central Development to talk about the Euclid Avenue streetscape improvement project. View a three minute clip of the interview below, or scroll down for the complete transcript of the interview.
DK: Park Central Development is the community development corporation for the 17th ward. We work to improve neighborhoods such as Botanical Heights, CWE, FPSE, and along Oakland with area institutions. Our goal is to improve the living conditions in those communities.
TB: What is your role?
DK: I’m the executive director at Parks Central Development. I’m the person who is ultimately responsible for the functions of our organization and implementing programs we undertake.
TB: Can you describe what the Euclid Avenue streetscape project is?
DK: We are rebuilding the public right of way along Euclid Ave between Forest Park Ave and Lindell Blvd. It is a 3 block project. Private properties are not included in the project. The Euclid Ave streetscape project will include sidewalks, curbs, road ways, public spaces along the road ways, etc.
TB: How did the plan come about?
DK: We have an infrastructure committee in the CWE. The committee worked to identify concerns in the neighborhood when they first formed in 2003. The obvious sore spots were the quality of the sidewalks on Euclid, the streetlighting and the street trees were not in great shape. This is the neighborhood image so it seemed very logical to try to put a significant amount of energy into improving the Euclid streetscape.
TB: Who were the key players?
DK: We created a stakeholder committee on Euclid of property owners, commercial pro owners, residents who live in the condos and townhouse developments on and off Euclid as well as merchants. We also held two neighborhood wide meetings for involvement and input. We wanted to have a very transparent process.
TB: Who came up with the conceptual plan?
DK: Civitas . Then Christner did the design development and Civitas will also do the construction piece.
TB: How much did the new streetscape cost?
DK: We spent $300,000.00+ on the planning process to get to the point where we are now. Development cost should be between 3 to 4.5 million. Original construction cost was 3 million and we were going to leave overhead wires that extend along the west side along Euclid all along the corridor from Lindell to FP Ave. We came back in the second stage of planning and decided that it made more sense to bury the cables. That is a very significant construction cost. It’s almost 25% or 30% of the whole project in just trying to bury the cables underground.
TB: How was it funded?
DK: The design was funded with money from the Park East Tower development called Opus Northwest. The implementation funds were from developer fess and 17th ward infrastructure dollars.
TB: What is the timeframe of completion?
DK: Right now, I don’t have a timeframe. I would hope that in the next 2 years at least 50%-60% of the project is completed.
TB: Is it part of a greater infrastructure plan for the neighborhood?
DK: The infrastructure for the neighborhood is in relatively good shape. We have a few projects that are on the table in terms of order of importance. One project that was completed was the Sarah street reconstruction that happened a couple years ago. Currently we have Euclid Avenue that we are getting ready to work on, and we have a couple streets that have no pedestrian street lighting and they are our next priority. The involved streets are the 4100 and 4200 block of Laclede, and the 4300 block of West Pine. Our goal is to have quality street lighting and quality sidewalks so there’s good access through the neighborhood. We would like to also expand the storm water management component to other parts of the neighborhood other than Euclid.
TB: How can someone get involved in the public infrastructure projects going on around the neighborhood?
DK: We have a public infrastructure committee. Anyone interested in joining the committee can contact Park Central Development 314-535-5311. I’d be happy and welcome public involvement in our infrastructure committee. If you are a property owner, merchant or a resident or if you are affiliated with an institution that is located within the 17th ward portion of the CWE then we would love to have you on our committee.
TB: Where can the public go for more information about the new streetscape?
DK: We have info on our website at www.17ward.org