Extra amenities to beautify Main

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Due to an anonymous donor’s generosity, downtown Brookings will soon be more beautiful than ever with the Downtown Streetscape Project.

An anonymous donor presented the Brookings Foundation with $1.25 million to help pay for the Downtown Brookings Streetscape construction as well as some additional amenities, said Jackie Lanning, the Brookings city engineer.

The entire Downtown Streetscape Project will cost approximately $4 million. Other than the anonymous donation, the city is providing money for the project and so is the Federal HUD Grant. The grant is a $357,000 economic development grant that’s purpose is to help pay for the Streetscape Project.

The city’s goal for use of the amenities is to beautify Main Avenue for pedestrians, said Lanning.

“The number one use of the donated money will go to helping the city proceed with the construction,” said Allyn Frerichs, the director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

Some of the money will be spent on replacing utilities and infrastructure, such as water lines and sewer pipes that were aging and needed to be replaced, said Sarah French, program manager for Downtown Brookings Inc.

Other goals for the use of the donation will include enhancing Main Avenue curbs, gutters and lighting. Originally, the city planned on finishing the street on Nov. 1, but it was not until Nov. 3 that the last asphalt was laid down on Main Avenue.

The street is all paved except for approximately three-fourths of a block, said Frerichs. The new lighting, curbs and gutters will continue to be worked on until the weather gets so bad that construction workers can no longer continue with the project.

In the spring, around May 1, the project will pick back up and the rest of the street will be finished. Beautification will also take place in the spring. This includes colored sidewalks, street furniture, such as benches, tables, trashcans and bike racks, as well as maximization of landscape.

Trees, shrubs and other landscape will not be planted until spring. Sidewalks will also be widened to improve the possibility for sidewalk sales outside stores and dining areas outside restaurants, said French.

The city committee in charge of the project wants to slow down traffic on Main Avenue, although there will still be street parking. One major goal is to make it more pedestrian friendly.

Fourth Street will also have some improvements made with the donated money. It will receive new lighting and sidewalks near the South Dakota Children’s Museum and Science Center. On the corner of Fourth Street and Main Avenue, a sculpture will be built for the Children’s Museum, and it will be revealed next year.

“The sculpture is a secret,” French said. “It will be revealed next year when it is finished.”

To find updates and plans for the Downtown Streetscape Project, visit www.cityofbrookings.org. The information is located on the homepage, and updates to the Web site are made every Monday or Tuesday until construction stops. In the spring, there will be more updates explaining the types of amenities that are being placed.