Dowagiac’s South Front Street Streetscape Project moves forward

Published 5:12 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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Dowagiac’s South Front Street streetscape will soon be receiving a facelift.

The Dowagiac City Council also approved a resolution to negotiate agreements with engineering firm Jones Petrie Rafinski for design and technical support for the redevelopment of South Front Street’s streetscape. 

With the demolition of two buildings set to begin soon with grant funds through the Cass County Land Bank, the next phase of redevelopment will be improvements to the South Front Street streetscape from High Street to a point near the south property line of Lions (Optimist) Park. Streetscape improvements will include the burying of utility lines, sidewalks, street lighting, parking improvements and repaving which will lead to redevelopment of the west side of the street to a planned housing development. 

A grant has been secured for a large portion of the necessary streetscape work. Multiple proposals were received from engineering firms and two firms were interviewed, with JPR being selected as engineer for this project. The firm has been involved in several downtown street improvement projects including South Bend’s Bartlett Street Reconstruction and Colfax Streetscape, Decatur, Indiana’s Madison Street Plaza and Auburn, Indiana’s Plaza and Streetscape.

Over the course of the coming weeks and months, JPR will:

  • Gather, review and analyze existing data to confirm goals and objects and to develop design concepts and recommendations
  • Gather input through stakeholder engagement and public meetings to further define goals and build consensus 
  • Develop a draft plan that includes all recommendations and prepare a final streetscape master plan based on feedback

“We’re really excited about this,” said City Manager Kevin Anderson. “We have received significant grant monies to carry the streetscape from downtown to the South Front Street redevelopment area. We’re really excited about getting this project designed and built. It speaks to the investment coming into the community as we continue efforts to invest in and redevelop it.”