Nearly five months of strategic planning and communitywide input will result in a major facelift for the Uptown neighborhood.
The Uptown Neighborhood Streetscape Design Project received the green light to move forward from the City Plan Commission on Thursday. The project, which is set to begin early next year, will take place along the 22nd Avenue corridor between 60th Street and 64th Street.
The final plans will be presented today in front of the Public Safety and Wellness Committee and the Public Works Committee. The plan would then need final approval from the Kenosha Common Council on May 20.
City officials, project managers and a steering committee unveiled design concepts at a pair of presentations on April 11. Planners interviewed 23 stakeholders, tabulated more than 150 online surveys and met with more than 80 local residents at a pair of informational sessions.
“I was really happy with how everything has worked out,” said Dennis Nelson, president of the Uptown Brass Village Neighborhood Association.
“We were able to get a lot of input from many different people.”
The project will create 38 additional parking spaces, a landscaped median (similar to 56th Street in HarborPark), upgraded LED lighting, entry columns, pavement designs and improved pedestrian walkways.
Angled parking, bump-outs
Uptown’s angled parking and obtrusive intersection bump-outs remain a source of contention. Angled parking will shift from a 45-degree angle to 60 degrees, increasing parking spaces from 77 to 115. The controversial bump-outs will become flush with the pavement, instead of a curbed border, allowing easy access for snow removal.
The bump-outs include plans for removable flower planters. However, the commission expressed safety concerns about placing planters next to the road.
“There are still some details that need to be worked out,” said Daniel Grove, a senior project manager with Kimley-Horn. “I thought their comments were fair. I didn’t hear anything that was a huge change. They weren’t objecting to the median or the overall big picture.”
The project would transform the Wilson Triangle, a green space located between 22nd Avenue, 63rd Street and Roosevelt Road.
The area is best known for its bus stop and a 30-foot evergreen tree. A plan is in place to clear out that space and create a relaxing, social setting or a nice spot to enjoy coffee or soak up the sun.
Grove said the entire process was a successful team effort.
“I think it’s gone great,” Grove said. “We’ve had a great, dedicated steering committee. We had some good community engagement. We had some passionate voices in the project. These are the things you want to have. I couldn’t have predicted this was the design carried forward, but I’m happy with it and I think we’ve done our best to work with the community and incorporate the input and thoughts we’ve heard into the final design.”
Ald. Dominic Ruffalo recommended a local “walk of fame” honoring famous Kenoshans be part of the project.
“It would be a perfect location to do something like that,” Ruffalo said. “We could have an area for athletes, investors, public figures, our forefathers.”