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Downtown district to undergo street scape project

Some call it a facelift, others call it an improvement project, one sure thing is that the Collierville Center Connect project will soon go from vision to reality.
This streetscape improvement project, partially funded by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, is the result of years of long-range planning.
Center Connect is a two-phase streetscape improvement project that among a variety of improvements will update sidewalks, crosswalks, streetlights, bike lanes, curb and gutter, landscaping, and utilities for parts of Center Street. Construction on both phases, being constructed simultaneously, is scheduled to begin the week of September 4, 2018, with projected completion set for summer of 2019.
In 2012-13, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) awarded the Town of Collierville two grants for Phases 1 and 2 for improvements to Center Street. The combined construction cost for both phases is $2.6 million and TDOT could reimburse the Town up to $1.6 million per the terms of the grant.
Center Street will be improved in
the following ways by this project:
• 44 new on-street parking spaces will be created to the north of the South Street Intersection.
• Two commercial curb cuts would be reduced north of the South Street Intersection with the consent of property owners to maximize on-street parking.
• The existing sidewalks will be rebuilt between the Post Office and the South Street intersection to a wider urban commercial design (12 feet) and be ADA compliant. These new sidewalks north of South Street will connect to a future Downtown Greenbelt trailhead at Center Street.
The existing sidewalk will be rebuilt on the east side of Center Street between Keough Road and Starlight Drive and be ADA compliant.
• A new sidewalk will be added along the west side of Center Street between Keough Road and Starlight Drive.
• A four-way stop will be created at the South Street-Center Street intersection that incorporates brick pavers. The intent of this design is to slow down northbound vehicular traffic as it moves into an area where on-street parking will be added to encourage safety, and improve the experience for pedestrians and cyclists.
• A school bus stop will also be added on this side of Center Street in front of the Laurelwood Apartments.
• New landscaping (shrubs, ground cover, and street trees) and irrigation will be added.
• Concrete streetlight poles will be added south of Keough Road to Starlight Drive.
Additionally, the entire street will be repaved by the Town. The new and improved Center Street will serve as a new gateway to Downtown Collierville and will work in synergy with State’s existing investments around Collierville. Center Street will create a direct link from the Town’s Historic Square to US Highway 72 and as part of the project, Center Street and US Highway 72 will also eventually tie into the greenbelt currently under construction along Nonconnah Creek.
Highway 72 and Center Street are main routes for students traveling to the University of Memphis Collierville Center from all directions. Collierville Center Connect will improve signage and transportation modes to Downtown and the University of Memphis Collierville Center.
The Center Connect project will also improve safety for students living near Collierville Middle School on Quinn Road south of Collierville’s Town Square. In conjunction with other sidewalk connections being planned, Collierville Center Connect will improve pedestrian and biking options for students that are within 1 ½ miles of Collierville Middle School so that one day biking and walking could be options for students.
“This project is the cumulative product of community involvement from citizens who provided input to the Downtown Small Area Plan, a commitment from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to support the Downtown and fund infrastructure improvements, implementation efforts by the Town staff, and TDOT, which helped to greatly reduce Collierville’s total cost,” said Jaime Groce, town planner.
The Town’s strategic investment in infrastructure in the Downtown area is helping to more fully implement the vision of the new Downtown Collierville Small Area Plan, which received awards from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association in 2010 and the American Society of Landscape Architects (TN Chapter) in 2011.
The Town has used similar public improvement projects successfully downtown before, as in the mid-1990s a major streetscape project was undertaken that transformed the streets contiguous to the Town Square into the pedestrian-friendly and heritage tourism destination that it is today.

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