Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wheeler Street project, key to Plant City's Midtown, poised for summer start

PLANT CITY — The Midtown project is moving ahead after all.

For years, the much-touted project to revitalize 85 acres in the downtown with a mix of shops, offices and homes has remained mostly an idea. But now, officials say, Midtown is poised to take a step forward.

Bids from contractors to reconfigure Wheeler Street between Renfro and Alabama streets are set to be opened today. The applications are due at City Hall at 2 p.m.

So far, officials aren't sure how many contractors will vie for the $2.1 million project, the first of two phases along Wheeler. But at a prebid construction conference in late February, 16 companies expressed interest, purchasing manager Kevin Orth said.

"We've been prepping for this project, and for the entire redevelopment plan, for three or four years, so it's nice to have construction getting under way," City Manager Greg Horwedel said.

After the bids are unsealed, the city staff will review the applications to make a recommendation to the City Commission next month on whether one of the contractors stands out.

If commissioners select a contractor at that meeting — likely on April 22 — work to realign Wheeler could begin in June or July.

The work is more than a road project. It signifies symbolic progress after numerous obstacles, from contaminated soil to drainage issues to the sluggish real estate market, have plagued the project.

Also, officials hope that as work progresses, developers and business owners will be spurred to invest in Midtown to carry out the bulk of the construction.

The city owns only 13 of the 85 acres targeted for redevelopment. The rest remains privately held, much of it parking lots, empty businesses and undeveloped land north of Ball Street to Renfro.

"When you start a project like this and everybody sees something new becoming a reality, it makes people step forward," Mayor Michael Sparkman said.

When fully realized years from now, Midtown, a term coined by then-Mayor Rick Lott to describe the redevelopment area, will include a village green surrounded by three- and four-story buildings.

The district would contain apartments and condominiums, stores, restaurants and possibly an entertainment venue. A gazebo in the green would host outdoor concerts and other events.

Wheeler is a key component of the project. The street curves sharply, cutting diagonally from Renfro to Evers Street. Officials want to realign Wheeler to eliminate the curve and carry it southward to Ball, about three blocks.

Realigning the street would provide an additional block for homes and businesses and create a grid pattern consistent with urban development, Horwedel said.

The work would be carried out in two phases. The first would take Wheeler south for two blocks from Renfro to Alabama Street. That phase, budgeted at $2.1 million, is the one contractors are vying for now.

The second phase, southward for one block to Ball, would run about $1.1 million. Horwedel said it's hoped the second phase immediately follows the first.

In addition to realigning Wheeler, the project will create a small park at Evers and Refro streets.

Warren Street, which now ends at Evers, will be continued west to Wheeler. New sidewalks, street lighting and landscaping, including Chinese elms, would be added as well, city engineer Brett Gocka said.

The work is expected to last about six months.

Rich Shopes can be reached at rshopes@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2454.

Wheeler Street project, key to Plant City's Midtown, poised for summer start 03/28/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 5:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017

    Blogs

    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  5. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.