City of Buchanan Downtown Project Public Open House
From the City of Buchanan Downtown Project Facebook Page
Buchanan, MI – August 08, 2022
This Downtown Project will consist of an entire redesign and reconstruction of part of Front Street. This means that the portions of Front Street in the Downtown area will be torn up from store front to store front–allowing for the installation of new water and sewer infrastructure to replace failing pipes that were installed around a century ago. Once the underground infrastructure is updated, the streets, sidewalks, landscaping, and other downtown accessories (collectively referred to as the “streetscape”) will all have a chance to be re-imagined and updated as well.
As of July 2022, City staff has had several internal meetings with engineers, architects, and planners to discuss the project, and we are now at a stage where we now have an early, preliminary draft of the streetscape design that is ready for public comment and input.
To be clear–the early draft that was presented to the public during our August 8th Public Open House is just that–an early draft. Due to its very preliminary nature, our intention is that we will make many more modifications and changes to the draft–based on input received from the public–before we consider moving forward to put together initial cost estimates and construction timelines. This also means that we did not have firm answers at the August 8th Public Open House to questions regarding exactly how much the total project will ultimately cost, or when exactly the construction will begin.
The information that we do have at this time indicates that the water and sewer infrastructure costs will likely total around $19 million (with this figure including a future stage of the project that involves adding a redundancy well and iron removal plant near the edge of town to ensure safe and high quality drinking water for the future).
Our engineers on the project, who are from the well-respected firm Prein & Newhoff, are still developing the price estimate for the first draft of the proposed streetscape design, and we hope to be able to share that figure at the Public Open House. However, it will be important to keep in mind that construction cost estimates and construction timelines that are shared will also be very preliminary, and will likely change several times during the course of the multi-year project.
The Downtown Project will likely run from 2023-2024, or 2024/2025–depending largely upon how long it takes to finalize the design and secure funding, in addition to the possibility of delays associated with the availability of contractors and/or supply-chain issues–which are plaguing most construction projects these days.
We want to be up front about the fact that this project will take a very LONG time, and that it will indeed cause some real hardships, delays, and inconveniences. However, we will do our best to lessen them as much as possible. For example, of the ~ $240,000 in marihuana revenues projected to be received from the State of Michigan this year, the City Commission has decided to use 50% of that money for economic development, including rear-façade grants for downtown businesses, to help them stay open and busy during the construction phase of the Downtown Project. [Side note, the other 50% of the marihuana revenues has been allocated by the City Commission to be used for parks, recreation, and quality of life projects–like the upcoming expansion of the McCoy Creek Trail that will go across Walton Bridge, the expansion of Victory Park, and more.
Though it will be a long, hard road to tread to get to the light at the end of the tunnel, once the Downtown Project is complete, we hope that everyone will feel that it was worth it and that we can all enjoy the new amenities and energy that it will bring to our beloved Downtown Buchanan–The Nicest Place in America!!!!
So with all of that in mind, please feel free to share the Facebook page with your friends who may be interested in the City of Buchanan’s Downtown Project, as it will continue to be updated with new information as we get it.
Finally, since ‘none of us is as smart as all of us,’ we are encouraging the public to share your comments relating to the Downtown Project on this page so that it is easier for us to keep track of them and take them into account as the project moves along. We genuinely want this Downtown Project to be a collective of the best ideas from everyone in our community, and strongly encourage all to comment and share your thoughts and ideas. And while polite constructive criticism is perfectly fine, we do kindly request that all comments be kept civil, and that no foul language or personal attacks be used. Anyone who wants to submit private comments may email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and non-digital comments may be submitted in writing during business hours at Buchanan City Hall (302 N Redbud Trail), ATTN: Downtown Project.
Thank you in advance for helping us make this Project the best that it can be!
Link to the full digital Presentation from this meeting HERE.
Link to Buchanan Downtown Reconstruction Project website HERE.
2020 Nicest City in America – Buchanan, MI!