A downtown gathering Monday afternoon signified and celebrated the beginning of the largest, and most aggressive project in the history of Salina.
A crowd gathered in the area of Santa Fe Avenue and Mulberry Street to ceremoniously begin the Downtown Streetscape and waterline replacement portions of the downtown revitalization.
Salina Vice Mayor Dr. Trent Davis spoke. He said the project is the beginning of great things for Salina. Hotels, museums, restaurants, shops, sidewalk art and more are part of the plan.
“This will be the place in the future where our children come to take senior pictures and graduation pictures, and where medical will sneak out of class to come down and study outside,” Davis said.
The key part of the project was the Salina Fieldhouse, which became a reality last year. Since then, ground has been broken for a multi-story hotel and plans for an auto museum have progressed. Additionally, construction for the KU School of Medicine and Nursing – Salina is nearly complete.
A bowling alley and indoor fun center is also planned, as is an Old Chicago restaurant among other projects.
The streetscape phase of the project includes narrowing Santa Fe from a four-lane street to a three-lane street. Traffic would flow in one lane in each direction, with a center turning lane. The redesign would open up more sidewalk space, thus opening up outdoor seating for downtown businesses.
The initial phase of work for the streetscape project will be waterline work from South St. to Mulberry St. Northbound pavement removal from Mulberry St. to Walnut St. is planned for May.
Northbound traffic for this block will be closed during this construction phase. Southbound traffic for this block and existing parking on the southbound side will be maintained during construction.
Pedestrian access to all storefronts will be maintained during the project.
On-street parking will be disrupted during the project, but plenty of downtown parking exists in public lots and along Fifth St. and Seventh St.