Downtown Development Authority
GRSD Sewer Authority Board
Local Revenue Sharing Board
Park and Recreation Board
Zoning Board of Appeals
Downtown Infrastructure and Streetscape Plan
North Whittaker Redevelopment Project
This project was made possible in part due to a generous $1.6 million grant from The Pokagon Fund.
The North Whittaker Redevelopment Project has been divided in two phases. Phase I includes Barton and Mechanic Street. Phase II includes North Whittaker Street.
Phase I was approved at the December 20, 2016 Council Meeting to be advertised for bidding. Bidding information is available at the following site:
A mandatory Pre-Bid Meeting for prospective bidders was held at New Buffalo City Hall at 10:00 local time, on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Sealed bids were opened and accepted at 10:00 am local time, Friday, January 27, 2017. The bid was awarded to the lowest bidder, Pajay, Inc, at a Special City Council Meeting on February 2, 2017 in the amount of $1,160,704.65. It is anticipated construction will begin by March 1, 2017.
The project scope includes reconstruction of Barton Street (from Merchant to Mechanic) and Mechanic Street (from Barton to Townsend), with replacement of water main, storm and sanitary sewers. Also included will be more formalized parking with dedicated parking lanes and additional parking areas on Thompson and Townsend north of Mechanic.
Below is the presentation to City Council on December 20. It contains an overview of the project with excerpts of plans and renderings.
The Whittaker Street Project is currently in the design phase. The preliminary budget and funding sources are at the link below:
After reviewing and assessing the existing infrastructure, three key areas were identified as part of this project:
Whittaker Street (Buffalo to Mechanic) is the main component of the reconstruction project. It is in need of a full reconstruction due to the poor condition of both the roadway and utilities. The existing water main is over 100 years old and is so shallow that the water service lines freeze during the winter. In addition to replacing the water main, the sanitary and storm sewers will be repaired or replaced for more efficient service. Reconfiguring Whittaker Street with parallel parking, wider sidewalks and a bike lane will offer a more inviting public space for our residents and visitors alike.
Barton Street (Merchant to Mechanic) was identified as a location where some of the angled parking lost on Whittaker could be relocated. The east side of the street is in poor condition with broken curb and sidewalks and is need of reconstruction. Because the east side of Barton is largely commercial, there may be potential opportunities to connect directly to Whittaker Street with a pedestrian arcade.
Mechanic Street (Whittaker to Thompson) has had recurring sewer and drainage problems with a segment of back-pitched pipe. The street is also in poor condition. Reconstructing this block with perpendicular parking on the north side and parallel parking on the south side also accounts for parking lost on Whittaker Street.
Other areas that will receive curb, sidewalk and pavement rehabilitation and utility upgrades are Mechanic Street (Barton to Whittaker) and Merchant Street (Barton to Thompson).
At the July 19, 2016 meeting, the City Council approved Option 2 for the Whittaker Street configuration. This configuration includes parallel parking on both sides of Whittaker, bike lanes and widened sidewalks.
Parallel parking allows for safer pedestrian and bicycle movement and also provides for better visibility of building facades. Many residents and business owners expressed concern about the parking configuration change. Spaces lost on Whittaker will be relocated to surrounding streets such as Barton and Mechanic. The plan is to evaluate all surrounding streets and maximize parking especially in areas that are currently underutilized or not clearly delineated.
The addition of a bike lane is an extension of the recent South Whittaker improvements. This bike lane completes a north-south pathway between the City limit and the lakefront. It also connects the business and residential areas on both ends of Whittaker Street.
Wider sidewalks allow for a welcoming pedestrian environment and ADA compliant access. Benches, planters, trees and other streetscaping elements will be installed. Businesses will be able to take advantage by having outdoor spaces for café areas or merchandise display.
The project will also include significant water main, sewer and drainage improvements.
Click the link below to see the rendering.
At the March 22nd Open House on the N. Whittaker Project, a formal presentation was given by Houseal Lavigne, along with Abonmarche, and Landscape Architects. The agenda included an overview of each configuration option with its benefits and details. An open discussion period was held for the community to review renderings and learn more about the project.
The City Council has approved a contract with Abonmarche Consultants to move forward with the redevelopment of North Whittaker Street from Buffalo St to Mechanic St. Included in the scope of work will be the reconstruction of Whittaker Street with utility work, new pavement, widened sidewalks, and streetscaping items. Minor improvements may also be completed on adjacent streets, including parking reconfiguration and repairs of sidewalk, curb and pavements.
In 2013, a plan was chosen from the Business Improvement District's Downtown Streetscape Plan. Due to the length of time elapsed with no further action, this new design team has been selected to pick up where the previous study left off.
Target dates and goals include:
March 2016 - Preliminary concept plans for review
March 2016 through April 2016 - Review of concepts by DDA, Planning Commission, City Council, and the public
May 2016 - Final selection of concept plan and approval for design
September 2016 - Complete construction drawings and begin bidding process
Fall 2016 through Fall 2017 - Construction of project
PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND HISTORY
In August 2009, the Business Improvement District Board of Directors conducted a Downtown Study. This Study was based upon results of a downtown survey which was posted online, noticed in newspapers, mailed to a sample of 678 resident households (153 responses; 23%), given to 62 students, and 18 downtown businesses were interviewed personally. A grant from the Pokagon Fund made this study possible.
The City Council approved Option 3 from the Downtown Streetscape Plan in 2013 which included reducing the total number of driving lanes to two, keeping the angled parking on both sides with a buffer lane, and widening the sidewalks.
Other infrastructure elements included a full street reconstruction of North Whittaker from the U.S. Route 12 intersection up to the Amtrak railroad, and Mechanic Street from Whittaker to Townsend, with new sanitary sewer collection lines, water mains, storm drains, burying overhead utility lines, and streetscape amenities.
This page last updated on 2/9/2017.