DUNEDIN — The busy streets of downtown are slated to get busier as the city embarks on a promenade project aimed at linking the district to the waterfront.
Contractors in January will start adding decorative touches — including red brick sidewalks, tree grates and an irrigation system — to the north and south sides of Main Street between the marina and Broadway Street.
Dunedin economic development director Bob Ironsmith said the $179,000 project will visually connect the marina and downtown, encouraging foot traffic between the two zones. That, he said, could lead to new development and increased revenue for merchants and the city tax rolls.
"It'll strengthen the area," Ironsmith said.
City commissioners last month unanimously approved the contract with Stamper Construction of Tarpon Springs, which mirrors the improvement goals outlined in Dunedin's 2025 Downtown/Waterfront Illustrative Corridor Plan and the 2033 Community Redevelopment Agency Master Plan.
The south side of Main Street is already brick-lined, so most activity will focus on the north side. Highlights include:
• Widening the six-foot sidewalk on the north side of Main Street by two feet. Concrete driveways will be updated to current handicap accessibility standards. Contractors will also erect a low wall that will double as a bench.
• Adding landscaping, lighting and other improvements around a flag pole at 826 Broadway to create an "entryway window" into downtown, which will also complement Purple Heart Park across the street.
• Improving crosswalks along that stretch. For example, the crosswalk on the west side of Victoria Drive at Edgewater Park will be replaced with concrete pavers. Several parking spaces will also be replaced with a concrete sidewalk and ramp to the crosswalk.
Dunedin already has a grant for new trees, and has asked the Florida Department of Transportation for a variance allowing the city to plant something other than typically-approved crape myrtles.
During construction, pedestrians will be able to use the walkway on the south side of Main Street. City officials say construction, which is expected to wrap up around April, won't impede vehicular traffic at all.
Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.