Block 34 parking and road closures declared as cityscape changes

By | February 25, 2024

February 24 – As you look around Stillwater at the projects, it becomes clear that the city is undergoing growth and change at a faster pace, transforming from the existence of a small town, college town and rural area to a place that is urbanizing and modernizing, while still being very strong. much while retaining the “feel” and history that is Stillwater.

From the start of construction of Block 34 this month, to the continued development of the airport, to Envision Stillwater (the twenty-year strategic comprehensive plan for growth), to ramping up economic and business development opportunities, to the beginning of Washington School with its historic rehabilitation. In addition to the new animal welfare building that is being built, these are only a few projects in progress.

Change can be difficult for some people. Especially when it creates inconveniences in an already busy life full of busy schedules, technology that changes every day, daily logistics, nagging worries and just the grind of life.

The City of Stillwater is keeping that in mind for its residents, visitors, students and private property owners as construction begins on many of these new infrastructure and building designs.

Specifically this week, City of Stillwater City Engineer Candy Staring and Transportation and Drainage Engineering Manager Travis Small took the time to explain in more detail what construction on Block 34 means for parking and road closures, and offered a general explanation of how the city is handling with the construction processes as soon as the shovels go into the ground.

The reality of a very large project means that not everyone will be happy with what happens where they are in connection with construction, or where they need to travel or park but can’t, Staring said.

And unfortunately, some people will be affected more than others, she said. The advantage of the construction is that it is temporary and will eventually be completed before moving on to the next section.

“First, when we issue a contract, we give them (the contractors) restrictions on the amount of time they have to spend in one area. And we work with them to determine their specific schedules for each area they are working on, depending on the overall schedule,” she said.

In the area around Block 34, all the parking spaces where the site will be located are gone forever, she said.

“We are certainly impacting residents with the construction work, whether it’s traveling through the area or people who are used to parking ‘on the street’,” she said.

“We expect the project to be complete by July 2025: the park, the storm sewers, adjacent roads and utilities, the infrastructure,” Small said.

While on-block parking may be gone, there is still parking on side streets, or “off block” parking. Parking lots around the block will be closed — and reopened — intermittently as construction continues, Small said.

Eventually there will be parking around Block 34, Staring said.

Duncan Street, west of the construction site, between 8th and 9th avenues, is completely closed for now, Small said.

There will be no parking at all in that area during the entire period. This area will be used as a “staging and storage area” for the builders there.

The Stillwater Community Center, west of the closed Duncan Street, is one of the hardest hit.

“Although we have worked with them in advance to ensure their needs are met,” Staring said.

As for residents who live in that area and need road access to homes, Small said, construction crews and the city will have to be diligent in communicating road closure schedules to people who live there.

Staring said they have sent letters to immediate areas affected by the construction work during the groundbreaking and will continue to do so as construction progresses.

At other times, all streets around the block will be closed intermittently, perhaps the man to the east is one of the fastest, Small said.

“People will have to drive around that, and sometimes other side streets, until construction is complete,” Small said.

“We know that we influence people and companies,” Staring said. “But in designing the project and planning we have tried to minimize the impact as much as possible.”

Staring said that on the day of the Block 34 groundbreaking, the city gave the contractors a “notice to proceed” as they began “Day One” of field work.

“They have 480 days (from February 7) to achieve substantial completion,” she said. “Please note that delays can arise from a variety of unknown factors, from weather to change order processes and other major events.”

Note that, according to Small, storm drainage and sewer will be installed from 8th to 12th Avenue on the west side of Duncan, and storm drainage and sewer will be installed on the outside of Duncan between 9th and 12th Avenue.

“The public should expect to see traffic deterrent fencing along Duncan in those areas, and people will not be able to access where that happens, including parking,” Small said.

The storm sewers and infrastructure reconstruction (utilities, lighting, paving) are not being completed specifically for Block 34 – these are projects the city has been planning for years.

However, construction of the new site provides perfect timing for what city engineers identified years ago as the need for new and replacement storm drains, detention ponds, storm sewer repairs and neighborhood drainage projects to address flooding and drainage problems in these areas.

Staring and Small said businesses will be minimally impacted, but Staring said the impression from local business owners is that they are quite excited as Block 34 promises the increase in the number of people coming to this part of the city.

“There are a few new restaurants and there’s a lot of buzz about this area with this change,” Staring said.

“We just hope that they (the people of Stillwater) will be patient with us as we create this fantastic park. It will be the jewel of the city,” Staring said. “We have nothing but excitement about getting it started and getting it built. We’re confident.”

Stonecloud Brewing Company opened its Husband Street location in 2022.

“As far as construction is concerned, I’m sure there will be frustrations. But those will only be temporary, and we’re looking at the positivity that Block 34 will bring to the area that will make it all worth it. ” says Matt Sullins, general manager of Stonecloud Brewing Company in Stillwater. “There’s a lot of construction going on around us, not just from the city, but luckily there’s plenty of on-street parking, so so far that hasn’t been a deterrent, and people are still coming in.”

For anyone concerned about parking and road closures, there are several ways to find out where access is and isn’t.

“Generally speaking, the city shows all parking lots on its website,” Small said. “They can also stop by the town hall to get a map and see where the parking lots are.”

If people are having difficulty parking due to work, or if they have questions or concerns, they are asked to call the Community Development office at 405-742-8220.

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