It might be several months later than usual, but a street improvements program in Independence will still take place this year.

It might be several months later than usual, but a street improvements program in Independence will still take place this year.

The Independence City Council Monday night unanimously approved a $1.08 million contract with Superior Bowen Asphalt Company for new asphalt surface and milling of existing street surfaces; utility adjustments; pavement markings; and sidewalk ramp installations. (Milling a street surface involves the removal of asphalt in preparation for new asphalt overlay.)

The following locations are part of the 2010 street improvements project:

District 1: Ash Street from U.S. 24 to Kentucky Road; Walnut Street from Pleasant Street to Noland Road; and Liberty Street from Silver Lane to Kentucky Road. District 2: Walnut Street from Noland Road to the railroad crossing; Bill Johnson Road from Bundschu Road to Missouri 7; and Bundschu Road from Powell Road to the Little Blue River. District 3: 39th Street from the railroad crossing to Pink Hill Road; R.D. Mize Road from Eureka Road to Crenshaw Road; and Valley View Parkway from U.S. 40 to the Little Blue River. District 4: Windsor and Charles from 23rd Street to Santa Fe Road; 31st Street from Sterling Avenue to Hardy; Crysler Avenue from 47th Street north to the city limits; Norfleet from 51st Street to the south city limits; and Hardy from 35th Street to Blue Ridge Boulevard.

The city’s street sales tax will fund these improvements. Independence now collects a half-cent sales tax on all retail sales for streets. In 2007, Independence voters approved the continuation of the street sales tax issue, which included a new 11-year overlay program. Through 2019, the program will repave 550 miles of Independence streets totaling $72 million.

While the city’s street improvements program usually starts during the spring months, City Manager Robert Heacock said the city waited several months this year because of the economy and its effect on project pricing.

“We had some other priorities that we needed to make sure we had enough money out of the street sales tax fund to make this happen,” Heacock said. “It’s needed improvement, and we’re pleased to be moving forward with that.”

More Events Center parking planned

Look for the construction of 196 additional parking spaces at the Independence Events Center this fall.

City Council members approved an emergency ordinance for a $267,078 contract with Summit Construction for additional parking on vacant, city-owned land on the east side of an existing parking lot between Adair Creek and Valley View Parkway. Once completed, the lot will include 610 spaces. The Events Center in total includes 2,200 free parking spaces.

Construction is scheduled to begin within one to two weeks, and the project will take 50 days to complete.

The additional parking funding was approved with the initial Events Center project, Heacock said. The Community Improvement District, not city general funds, contributed toward the project.

The CID is levied at the commercial area near interstates 70 and 470.

The Events Center will be financed with a half-cent sales tax for 20 years and then a five-eighth cent sales tax for 10 years.  

Englewood arts district a possibility

Several council members spoke in favor of an upcoming Unified Development Ordinance amendment that would allow for an arts district in Englewood.

The council had a first reading on an amendment that would create a new special purpose district known as an arts district. The amendment takes place after months of city staff meeting with Englewood business and property owners who have worked for years to establish an Englewood arts district.

Calling the Unified Development Ordinance “a living document,” Heacock said the amendment allowing an arts district is “an encouraging element that will allow a measure of control to the businesses and property owners in that area to help ensure that future growth and development is in concert with the overall vision.”

“This is going to be nothing but a win-win situation for the city to bring an arts district into our city,” District 4 Council Member Jim Page said. “It’s an uplift and an upgrade to our city.”

District 3 Council Member Myron Paris said he and his wife visited the monthly Third Friday Art Walk on Aug. 20 in Englewood and praised the artists’ efforts.

“I was very impressed,” Paris said. “They have a lot to offer. They really do. It was really a pleasant experience.”