Final public meeting on Ped Mall improvements before construction starts will happen Thursday

Ped Mall Improvement Project Open House

Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A — Thursday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m.

Illustration of planned improvements to the Ped Mall, April 2018.

There will be a meeting at the Iowa City Public Library on Thursday to update the public on the Pedestrian Mall Improvement Project, which is scheduled to break ground later this month. The $7.7 million project will improve the Ped Mall’s infrastructure — including laying a new foundation and replacing the bricks on the walkways — as well introducing new attractions, such as story walls celebrating Iowa City’s history.

“This meeting will basically be focused on the details of construction and what to expect during construction,” Scott Sovers, senior civil engineer for Iowa City, told Little Village.

The construction this year will be on the Dubuque Street corridor running north from the former Sheraton Hotel through Black Hawk Mini Park. In 2019, construction will be done on the east-west axis of the Ped Mall.

“We’ll be phasing it in a way to maintain pedestrian traffic at all times to all the businesses, which primarily means that during the first phase of construction we’ll be working on the interior part of the Ped Mall. Pedestrians will be pushed up against the buildings’ facades,” Sovers said. “Then we’ll have to work on areas up against the building facades, so pedestrian traffic will be on the interior of the Ped Mall, but we’ll have paths to each one of the businesses and signage to make sure people know how to access them.”

“It’ll be similar to what we did during the improvements on Washington Street.”

There’s only been one major change since the last meeting on the project in October: The shade structure for Black Hawk Mini Park has been dropped from the plan.

“The bids came in almost double of what we were anticipating, so we’re not moving forward with it,” Sovers said. “But we will be putting the foundation for the shade structure. In case the decision is made to move forward the structure in the future, we’re not back there tearing up the Ped Mall.”

The Thursday presentation will begin in Meeting Room A of the ICPL at 4:30 p.m.

Illustration of shade structure in Black Hawk Mini Park that has been removed from Ped Mall improvement plan.

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