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13th Street beautification begins

Construction project nears completion

December 8, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

With Summit Street open, and the streetscape lamp posts up, the 13th Street Revitalization Committee is looking toward future improvements.

Summit Street opened earlier this week, and Adam Daters, project manager for the 13th Street project said crews are set to pour the final phase of the concrete for the plaza parking Saturday. After the concrete sets for a few days and crews paint stripes on the lot, it will be available for parking.

Although they are not online, the light posts are up, kick starting the beautification efforts.

Article Photos

The lamp posts on 13th Street, shown here Friday afternoon, are now up. As construction draws to a close, the 13th Street Revitalization Committee looks toward beautification efforts, of which the lamp posts are the first installment.

"I think the ball is rolling now," said Jackie Mason, co-chair of the 13th Street Revitalization Committee. "If that area is built up, it helps the whole city."

Adding physical elements is the first of three phases to spruce up the area in an attempt to return it to its past splendor.

Mason said she used to live on Fremont Street, and she remembers patronizing the stores along that corridor. Throughout the years, she has seen it decline and has always thought revamping it would be a worthwhile endeavor.

Once the group has installed the physical elements - the light posts, the water feature, picnic tables, fencing, trash cans, benches, greenery - it will begin the second phase, which is recruiting businesses to set up shop in the area.

Then, she said, the group would start brainstorming events like art fairs and farmers markets that the area could host. She would like the area to be a cavalcade of eclectic shops, like a local East Village.

"It's not enough to build it," she said. "We have to have people come to it."

Although she said the committee is ambitious and that things are coming together, it is also practical. Many of the remaining features will have to wait until the spring. No one on the committee thinks all the work is going to be done in a year, she said.

Now that efforts are moving at a seemingly exponential rate, Mason said she is confident the effort will continue to push forward.

With assistance from the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation, Marshall Economic Development Impact Committee (MEDIC), the Marshalltown Development Foundation as well as a legion of volunteers, she is not doubtful of the project's success.

Tom Deimerly, MEDIC president, was unavailable for comment at press time.



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