The shift of the center of downtown to Broadway and Walnut streets began in earnest this week.
Originally envisioned in the City of Monticello’s 2017 Downtown Area Plan, the construction work at Broadway and Walnut is the first phase of a larger Walnut Street Corridor Plan that will make Walnut Street the heart of downtown Monticello.
Walnut Street was closed at Broadway on Monday and Tuesday of this week as work began on curb extensions on the four corners of the Broadway and Walnut intersection.
The work on the Walnut-Broadway intersection, which is anchored by The Cornerstone Cafe, Lucille Murray’s Studio of Dance, Monticello Family Dentistry and the former Foster White Insurance building- will also include intersection improvements that will narrow the lanes of traffic in the intersection to make the intersection more pedestrian-friendly. As part of the project, a plaza with tables and landscaping will be created on the south side of Walnut Street. New sidewalks and utility work was also completed.
The work began on Monday, July 29, because the Cornerstone Cafe located on the southeast corner of Broadway and Walnut is closed on Mondays, according to City Engineer, Matt Leonard.
The sidewalks in front of the Cornerstone Cafe were poured Monday so the restaurant would not have to close for a day, Leonard added.
The original construction plan for the summer of 2019 included the building of a ramp that would connect Walnut Street with West Bridge Park at River Street. However, because of the current uncertain development plans for Block 52 bounded by Broadway and River streets and Walnut Street and Highway 25, the development of a ramp has been put on a temporary back-burner.
Connecting the Walnut Street corridor with West Bridge Park remains an important aspect of the final project, however.
The future of Walnut Street between Broadway Street and River Street is visioned to be a festive area that would someday be home to outdoor markets and community festivals. The Walnut and Broadway corner is envisioned as an area for outdoor dining, the area from Third Street to approximately the area near the Cargill plant is seen as the future home of a promenade designed for families to engage with public art, and comfortable places to sit and relax.
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org