The final piece of funding for a massive redo of Rochester Road in downtown Rochester is in place.
A $523,778 federal grant - combined with a matching amount from the city - will set off a project that will modernize the street, lights and sidewalks while preserving history and enhancing safety, appearance and usefulness.
Rochester Road, the city's main thoroughfare through downtown, is one of Michigan's most admired Main Streets. The million-dollar-plus streetscape project will include new LED street lighting fixtures, pedestrian benches, trash receptacles, reconstructed crosswalks and sidewalks, and more. New street lights and posts with the energy saving bulbs will be replaced along the stretch from Second Street to the Paint Creek Bridge. The old lights, if financially feasible, will go into alleys, says Kristi Trevarrow, executive director of the Rochester Downtown Development Authority.
During construction, which will begin in April and end in September 2012, it is expected that the original brick-paved Rochester Road will be uncovered. Those bricks will be used to make new planters, not only repurposing what could be waste but adding greenery to the city, says Trevarrow.
In addition,the sidewalks will be restored to their original exposed brick walkways. Crosswalks will be made of stamped concrete that slows cars and have downward facing lighting for pedestrians - both for safety. Street signs will also have backlit illumination.
Bike racks will be constructed into the new planters and the streetlamps.
The project has the potential to draw visitors and business to the area and also make Rochester another example of how to build a thriving downtown. But it only began because the state-owned Rochester Road was due for maintenance improvements. The Michigan Department of Transportation helped the city obtain the federal dollars.
"We thought this was a great opportunity to do things we've been wanting to do," Trevarrow says.
Source: Kristi Trevarrow, executive director, Rochester Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine