Planning and discussions have been ongoing for a few years with the Noland Road Community Improvement District.
Next year, says Gerry Winship, executive director of the Noland Road CID, those driving and walking along Independence's main north-south corridor should really start to notice improvements.
“We're going to spend about $3 million on Noland Road over the next 12 months,” Winship said, and that's not including a city project for improvements at Noland Road and Fair Street, for which the City Council authorized a contract earlier this month.
When that city project is finished, the CID plans to have a pull-off bus stop built along southbound Noland north of Fair, hopefully with covered seating.
Earlier this month, the long-promised new blue street signs with LED illumination started to appear at intersections along Noland Road. Fifteen intersections are getting the signs, though some will have to wait until the spring because new poles are needed. Another noticeable improvement Winship has planned for 2019 is to get pole-mounted commercial signs swapped out for monument signs, many of which can also be lit at night. Right now, only a handful of business signs have that capability.
“The lighted signs are going to make a difference,” Winship said.
The CID, which the city approved four years ago, is funded through a three-fourths-cent sales tax that Noland Road businesses approved and collect. Money goes for capital improvements, maintenance and assistance to businesses along the 5½ miles of Noland from U.S. 40 north to Truman Road.
“They're our projects, in cooperation with the city, using tax dollars, but not city of Independence money,” Winship said.
Last year, the CID had promotional banners for Noland hung up on the road's light poles.
The city's Noland and Fair project includes replacing traffic signals, adding pedestrian push button signals, new sidewalk ramps, pavement marking improvements and a concrete pad at the bus stop. The contract with Capital Electric Line Builders is for $346,709, the lowest of three bids. The city will be reimbursed 80 percent of the cost through a federal grant.
As for the bus stop, Winship says it will have enough room for two stacked buses to pull off from southbound Noland. In the triangular green area there, plans call for almost entirely new landscaping with irrigation.
“We’re going to beautify the area,” he said.
Another project in the near future involves tearing out and replacing the mostly overgrown vegetation near the Noland Road bridge over Interstate 70, sprucing up the bridge's look and widening its sidewalk.
The whole idea, he emphasizes, is to make that intersection and the corridor more attractive for current and hopefully additional businesses in the future.
“We're working in connection with the city, the Union Pacific Railroad and MoDOT,” Winship said. “We're improving their land.”