This is an exciting time for Hiawatha as we welcome the new Village Center Intersection on Tuesday, October 31 at 10am. The cause for excitement is not only due to the new intersection and the new safety measures in place but also the economic growth to come, in and around this area. With the new intersection in place it provides a green light for the city to initiate its next steps, aggressively sharing their vision, that was conceptualized years ago, and pull in interested developers to develop the land near and around the new North Center Point/Emmons Street/Robins Road intersection (see picture below).
The city council, along with a steering committee consisting of local residents and individuals from the business community, recognized years ago there was a missing ingredient in and around the intersection. They determined a need for a “Village Center”, a place people can head to for many different purposes – to shop, dine, take in a concert, or just enjoy what a city center has to offer. This would be an animated public place used to create a downtown atmosphere in the heart of Hiawatha. The “there” place. When the city council developed the “Village Center” concept, they created a new urbanism, with smart growth initiatives, that consisted of a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use environment with a focus on the public realm.
Soon after the plan began on paper it was made into a reality and the project had begun. The project was done in 2 phases:
Phase 1: Underground Utility Project
This phase started May of 2016 and was substantially complete in October of 2016. The cost for Phase 1 was $808,000.00, which was completed under budget.
Phase 2: Street package/lighting/landscaping Project
This phase started in August of 2016 and had 8 stages of construction, primarily to keep traffic lanes open as much as possible. Stages 1 and 2 of the street project were completed in the fall of 2016. All work was suspended in the winter of 2016 and all traffic lanes were open with temporary street paving. Work started again in March of 2017 and has been underway all of 2017 with the remaining 6 stages. The contract cost for Phase 2 is $2,800,000.00. It is anticipated this will also be slightly under the projected cost of the phase.
The city of Hiawatha and the Hiawatha Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO) are looking forward to using the new Village Center Intersection to further economic growth in the community. This will not only help current local business owners but the surrounding community as well. With land ready to develop, and a vision in mind, the Village Center is just the beginning of what is next for Hiawatha.