A sidewalk rebuild on the north side of West Jackson Avenue, connecting a City-owned parking lot with Henley Street, is scheduled to be finished by the end of May.


The 45-day project, part of a $135,000 contract for two small infrastructure upgrades, is relatively modest. But the benefits of the new 5,500-square-foot concrete path for pedestrians will be felt for many years to come once major infrastructure upgrades begin in the Old City.


“Once Streetscape improvements start on West Jackson, and again when the Jackson ramps connecting to Gay Street are being replaced in a few years, it will be crucially important to have this wide, smooth travel path for pedestrians during construction,” Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett said.


“Jackson Avenue is in the heart of a thriving entertainment and retail district, and the City will be investing more than $10 million in needed public infrastructure improvements throughout the Old City. Our aim is to complete these upgrades while maintaining access to businesses and to parking.”


Two stretches of West Jackson Avenue – a section between World’s Fair Park and Gay Street, and another section east of Gay Street through the center of the Old City – will be streetscaped, starting this summer and wrapping up in 2017. The work will include building new curbs and sidewalks, planting trees and continuing to bury utility lines, but the projects also will include significant subterranean utility upgrades.


Replacing the eastbound and westbound Jackson ramps onto Gay Street is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2018.


McKinnon Construction Co. was awarded the $135,000 contract to build the replacement sidewalk this spring on West Jackson as well as to reconfigure the median at Henley Street and West Church Avenue to remove an abandoned turn lane. The two jobs are to be completed within 45 days of the Notice to Proceed being issued on April 11.


The West Jackson section of sidewalk was badly damaged during the McClung warehouses fire and demolition; some of it was broken but remained passable, while other parts were unsafe.