State Street team seeks design, funds

A group guiding a revamp of Columbus’ State Street corridor is asking the city for about $900,000 to pay for design and engineering services.

The State Street Implementation Team is requesting the money from the Columbus Redevelopment Commission to hire two Indianapolis firms for the State Street work, said Doug Pacheco, redevelopment commission consultant.

The 18-member team is helping guide the progress of several projects recommended by the Lakota Group, a Chicago-based design and planning group that spent a year studying State Street.

After deciding on the scope for the first phase of the overall project, the implementation team asked United Consulting, an Indianapolis-based engineering firm, to submit a proposal and cost estimates for:

Project management

A side path on the north side of Third and State streets

Sidewalks on the south side of State Street

A pedestrian bridge over Haw Creek

United has estimated that the design and engineering work will cost $903,500, $637,400 of which would go to United and $266,100 for Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf, an Indianapolis-based architect and design firm, for landscaping and design work.

Overall, United Consulting’s estimate came in less than one from last year, which exceeded $1 million, Pacheco said.

That estimate was shelved because the Columbus City Council decided against voting on a contract with the Indianapolis engineering firm. City officials were in the midst of determining how to implement part of the corridor plan this summer while the Indiana Department of Transportation repaves State Street.

The implementation team proposal does not include work to improve pedestrian safety where State Street intersects with Central Avenue and splits into Second and Third streets. That’s because INDOT already is working on plans to improve that intersection, Pacheco said.

The proposal United sent the implementation team also does not include costs for right-of-way permits, new traffic signals at Indiana Avenue or plans for bus shelters or irrigation.

Because the project to revamp State Street, also known as State Road 46, likely would affect the city’s Central tax-increment financing district, the redevelopment commission can use money generated in that district to pay for parts of the revitalization effort that are adjacent to the TIF district.

TIF funds won’t cover the whole project, or even this first phase, but city funds in the Central TIF can go a long way to help, City Councilman Dascal Bunch said.

What's next?

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission will vote at 6 p.m. today whether to hire two Indianapolis firms for design and engineering work to implement the State Street Corridor Plan.

Because the cost to do so would exceed $500,000, the Columbus City Council also would have to approve hiring the Indianapolis-based firm. The council may discuss the proposal during its Tuesday meeting but will not take action until its next meeting April 7, at the earliest.