A Springfield-based consulting firm and urban designers from Tennessee will help Pekin officials form plans for how to revitalize the city’s main south side street.
The team will start shaping the future of Derby Street by asking its area residents and businesses to share their ideas in a week-long “community engagement session” beginning in two weeks, the city has announced.
Hanson Engineering of Springfield and Common Ground Design Studio of Nashville have been chosen to conduct the Derby Street Corridor Study that will continue through next June.
The work is funded by a $25,000 grant from the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC) with a $2,500 match from the city.
The city and hired planners seek the public’s input in workshops beginning at 5 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Salvation Army’s Pekin headquarters at 243 Derby.
Their goal is to envision an invigorated main city corridor and recommend policy changes or actions to bring feasible plans to reality, said City Planner Katie Schackelford.
“Those are going to guide us as we move forward because Derby Street is nearing the end of its life span as it’s built right now,” Shackelford said when the TPRPC grant was announced in late July.
“Derby Street is a thriving commercial corridor and the gateway to southern Pekin,” said City Manager Tony Carson. “This will be the first comprehensive planning study ever taken to address the unique challenges that make this street vital to the Pekin community.”
The study will look at the area’s needs, assets and opportunities with the focus on better serving residents, visitors and businesses. It will examine issues including pedestrian traffic, street beautification, parking needs, vehicle traffic calming and safety and the general quality of life along Derby.
Shackelford said the overall project will likely be approached in phases and will require the city to identify future funding sources for the work.
The study, she said, may produce “a Cadillac plan” that identifies “the best and highest option(s)” for the street, “but it may be that we don’t have enough funding to do everything.”
After the consultants produce their plans, Shackelford said the city likely will “come back and say to the citizens that we can’t do it all, but we can do some. What is the some that you would really like more than others?”
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin