Broadway project moves along
Streetscape gets OK for money, construction
Lorain is getting a little bit closer to giving Broadway a new look downtown.
Although shovels are not turning yet, the city has received two key documents that mark two more steps forward in the plan for new sidewalks, signs, lights and traffic flow, said Mayor Chase Ritenauer and City Engineer Dale Vandersommen.
The work could start this year, but much of it will take place in 2019 and will coincide nicely with renovations at the Broadway Building, 301 Broadway, Ritenauer said.
There, Ariel on Broadway, the company of Cleveland businesswoman Radhika Reddy, plans to create a new hotel and event space.
“Next year is going to be a turning point for Broadway, I really believe that,” Ritenauer said.
On Aug. 9, Vandersommen received authorization in an emailed document, titled a Federal-Aid Project Agreement.
It came from the Ohio Department of Transportation, Vandersommen said.
Among the legal language, the form states Aug. 8 is the
“effective date of authorization” for construction of the $4.16 million project.
Vandersommen said he wants to consult with the design engineer.
But with the approval in place, a tentative schedule is for the project to go out to bid with advertisements starting Aug. 23.
A tentative bid opening could come Sept. 14, Vandersommen said.
Considering the timing, it is unlikely much visible construction will happen this year, he said.
However, the winning contractor will have time to order the lights and architectural signage, which likely will take 90 days to order, build and deliver, Vandersommen said.
If the bidding goes smoothly, there could be some underground work this year to fill in about a dozen vaults of buildings, he said.
Most of the vaults will be filled in, with exceptions for the Gardens of Charleston condominiums, 610 Broadway, which has an underground parking garage.
The city also will work with Ariel on Broadway to ensure the vault is sound
under the Broadway Building, Vandersommen said.
As for financing, on July 31, Ritenauer received a confirmation letter from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency that the agency will contribute $1.5 million in the state fiscal year 2019.
That is two years sooner than expected originally.
The letter came from NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci.
“NOACA is pleased to advance the $1,500,000 of its funding to enable the community and the region to realize the benefits of the project sooner,” Gallucci wrote. “Please continue to work with NOACA staff toward the successful completion of this project.”
Ritenauer thanked the planning organization for the financial help.
“Without that millionfive, the streetscape is a pipe dream; it does not happen without that millionfive,” he said.
The first plans for the streetscape came out in 2015, Ritenauer said.
It took time to develop a plan to pay for the improvements, but without financing in place, the drawings would have been a fantasy, he said.
“It’s going to be a reality; it’s going to happen,” the mayor said.