CLARKSVILLE — The latest phase of a major redevelopment in south Clarksville is nearing completion, with an update to be presented to the public at a meeting later this month.
On Thursday, Jan. 18, town leaders and project designers will present the most recent information on the Woerner Avenue roadway and streetscape project, an area between the Ohio River and the former Colgate facility that will eventually serve as a mixed-use, main street for the town.
Plans include a two way-street with 11-foot lanes, on-street parking on both sides and an 8-foot wide, two-way cycle track. Clarksville Redevelopment Director Dylan Fisher said in an email Monday that the project is expected to begin later this year and be complete in early 2020.
The meeting will not only present plans for the streetscape, but inform the public about completed and ongoing infrastructure improvements related to the planned developments in that part of town. A recently-completed wastewater study by Heritage Engineering will help guide the town's future plans for rebuilding the system, Fisher said in the email.
A traffic impact study and master parking plan, both being handled by R.W. Moore Consulting Engineers, are also expected to be finished within the next few months, with Stantec Engineering conducting a stormwater study soon.
Since April, MKSK, the urban design firm handling the project, led by project manager Brett Davis, has been working on firming up the conceptual and schematic designs for the Woerner Avenue road improvements, which will set the stage for redevelopment in that area, Davis said.
After the upcoming meeting, Davis and his team will work public input received into design development drawings and working with town leaders, set to finalizing the design plans.
The project is part of the overarching south Clarksville redevelopment plan, put together by MKSK through input from residents, community leaders and other stakeholders. It was completed and approved in 2016.
“The Woerner Avenue project is just a piece of the puzzle,” Fisher said in the email.
“I believe the best way to describe our current situation is that we are starting to comprehend what public improvements could — and in some case must — be made to accommodate new private investment and redevelopment within south Clarksville.”
Other planned projects within the next few years include the redevelopment of Ashland Park along the river. The town has received around $2 million in grants from the Kentucky Regional Planning and Development Agency to improve Riverside Drive in that area.
Clarksville and Jeffersonville have also received joint funding to add sidewalks and a bicycle trail to Montgomery Boulevard between South Clark Boulevard and Spring Street.
“I think very few communities can say that they have riverside property that has yet to be redeveloped,” Clarksville Redevelopment Commission President A.D. Stonecipher said, adding that the view of Louisville and the access to the Louisville metro from south Clarksville are incredible assets.
“Potentially what this could do is not only bring great growth to Clarksville in terms of residential [developments,] jobs and retail, but it's going to raise everyone's property values. That's a good thing for the landowners and the town — but we've got to work together to move it forward.”
One thing that still needs to happen before construction could begin on the widening of Woerner Avenue is gaining the easements from several property owners along the roadway.
“This is still a conceptual design. In order for this to become a reality, its got to be a team effort that includes all of the stakeholders,” Stonecipher said. “We hope that the landowners will cooperate with us, obviously we want to make it as seamless and painless a transition s possible, that is if they're willing to sell.”
By statute, the town can't pay more for the properties than the average of two separate appraisals on each property. If some decide not to sell, that could prolong the project, Stonecipher said. Some of the properties are businesses while others are rental homes.
“If the widening of Woerner Avenue requires us to remove a house, then obviously we would be working with those landowners carefully to ensure that that's well scheduled out — that tenants would have plenty of time to relocate and the town would work with landowners on any relocation,” Stonecipher said.
“There are a lot of little steps to take together to bring this vision to reality. And that's why we need that meeting – to come together as a neighborhood and set forth a realistic plan as far as next steps."