A project to connect several downtown Greenwood parks is set to begin this summer as construction plans have been completed and funding is close to being approved.
The proposed trail, which would run south of Pleasant Creek on the east side of Meridian Street, would link Craig Park, the Greenwood Community Center and the Greenwood Amphitheater with Old City Park.
The $720,000 project will include the trail, stormwater improvements along Pleasant Creek, redesigned and expanded trails around the amphitheater and bike racks and lighting along the trails.
The goal is to increase opportunities for residents and visitors to walk and bike across downtown Greenwood. Also in the works are improvements to the southeast corner of the Main and Meridian streets intersection where a new, expanded Mrs. Curl Ice Cream Shop is planned.
Story continues below gallery
Part of the bill for the creek project may be picked up by the stormwater and parks departments. The stormwater department will pay $200,000 and the parks department will pay $50,000 contingent on their respective boards’ approval.
The redevelopment commission will fund its portion of the project, which will be about $470,000, through two of its tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts. The five-member board is set to vote on the project at its next meeting, as it wanted to wait for the other city boards to make decisions about chipping in.
Work will begin once funding has been approved and the contract with the company that submitted a bid to do the work has been reviewed, Greenwood capital projects manager Kevin Steinmetz said.
Portions of the work, such as the improvements near the amphitheater, will be put off until fall, so that it won’t interrupt the summer concert series, Freedom Fest or other events conducted in the area, he said.
To pave the way for the new trail, the redevelopment commission purchased a home at 301 E. Main St. for $86,500 and later demolished the house.
The city also plans to redo the intersection of Main and Meridian streets to allow for better traffic flow and make room for a popular downtown eatery to expand.
The redevelopment commission voted to accept the rezoning of two lots near the intersection. The commission spent $185,000 last year to purchase and demolish 1 and 21 E. Main St. last year.
Part of the land will be used to add a right-hand turn lane from northbound Meridian Street to Main Street. A cost for that project hasn’t been determined yet as it is in the early planning stages, but it is expected to be under $1 million, Steinmetz said.
The city is also looking at improvements to the parking lot near the current Mrs. Curl building, which would provide more access to the new trails, he said.
The city is planning to lease or sell the remainder of the land for the new Mrs. Curl Ice Cream Shop, which would have indoor seating and be open year-round. Those plans had stalled as the Greenwood City Council and redevelopment commission had debated the best way to rezone the property for commercial use.
In allowing the rezoning, the council also placed a set of restrictions on the types of construction materials that can be used on the property and how it can be built. Mrs. Curl owner John Cassin said he can abide by the restrictions and is ready to move forward with planning.
“I’m glad it got approved,” Cassin said. “We’ve been waiting. Hopefully we can get things back on track.”
Now that the rezoning is finalized, Cassin can wrap up the construction plans, get a final cost, apply for a loan and begin construction, which he still hopes can get started this summer and be complete by the end of the year.
Negotiations for the sale or lease of the property haven’t begun yet, but Cassin said he expected them to begin soon.
If an agreement is reached and Mrs. Curl moves to the new location, the current spot may then be leased by the city to be used by the city bike rental program.
Greenwood is funding a new trail and improvements to the park around the amphitheater in downtown Greenwood. With the new trail, residents will be able to walk directly from Old City Park east to the Craig Park, the Greenwood Community Center and the Greenwood Amphitheater.
What’s included: A new trail south of Pleasant Creek, expanded trails around the amphitheater, lighting, bike racks and stormwater improvements to Pleasant Creek
When is work planned: Work will begin this summer, though some projects won’t begin until the fall to avoid interrupting park events.
Who is paying for it: The redevelopment commission, parks and recreation department and the stormwater department.