A city committee passed final plans for the redesign of the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street in a meeting Wednesday, approving a new Maple leaf statue, lighting options and landscaping decisions.
Project Designer Jason DiPiazza presented final plans for the project to the State Street Design Project Oversight Committee, a committee created to spearhead the project.
The redesign project is set to begin construction May 19, pending final approval from City Council.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the city moved the beginning of the construction, which was originally planned for April, to avoid any interference with commencement weekend.
Committee Chair Ted Crabb began the meeting by reporting positive feedback from a public meeting on the project last week and brought up the community’s key concerns.
Memorial Library representatives expressed concern over limited bike rack access, Crabb said, adding representatives from St. Paul’s Catholic Church disliked being close to the food carts.
Representatives from St. Paul’s also expressed concern the new trees in the redesigned 700 block of State Street would block the view of church’s mosaic from the sidewalk, which is featured at the building’s entrance, Verveer said.
Verveer said this concern led to the removal of the tree in front of the church from the blueprint.
Members of the committee said they did not want to reorganize their plan just so that pedestrians could have greater access to the mosaic.
Crabb issued a motion to put the tree back into the plan, to which all members agreed.
DiPiazza added a key aspect of the new design would be to provide “clearer sight lines to the Capitol Building as well as Bascom Hill.”
DiPiazza also said because these blocks undergoing redesign are considered part of the historical society, the plan will “not be taking anything out that is within historic borders.” He also said the plans were “striving for symmetry.”
In terms of new lighting, DiPiazzo said the city is leaning toward using LED lights for the lamps, which were chosen instead of a less bright light option.
The members also discussed new possibilities for bike racks and the new arrangement of food carts. In the new design, more room will be allotted for bikers, pedestrians and food carts to coexist harmoniously.
The redesign will hopefully be well underway by the time school commences in the spring of 2014 and is projected to be in its final stages by the time school starts up again in September.
The plans will now go to the Board of Public Works on Jan. 8, and, pending approval, on to City Council on Jan. 21.