CRA Unveils Plan for West Third Street
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
At the Alliance City Council Meeting, Chris Mischnick, president of the of the Community Redevelopment Authority gave a presentation to Council Members, showing their work over the past year and providing information on a plan to improve the appearance of West Third Street.
Mischnick said the group worked hard to determine what project they should focus on next, finally deciding to turn their sights to West Third Street.
“The West Third Street area was starting to look a little old, a little run down, so that’s the area of town we decided to target,” said Mischnick. “The next question became, ‘how do you get everybody on board? How do you get businesses on board?’ We decided the best route to take would be to have the CRA undertake the expense of getting a plan made up and in place.”
The group hired M.C. Schaff of Scottsbluff to help develop a plan for improving West Third Street from U.S. Highway 385 to the underpass.
“About a month ago, we finally got through with M.C. Schaff and got the final redevelopment plan back that everybody is happy with. Now, we’re to the point where we’re working with M.C. Schaff to start sourcing different funding for the project. We really don’t know where we’re going from here, that’s why we kept M.C. Schaff on board to help us through the process.”
Council Member Earl Jones noted that since walkability is a key part of the plan, he recommended the CRA discuss options with Panhandle Public Health about an ongoing push to improve walkability in Alliance. He said there has already been one meeting to discuss ways to improve walkability in the community.
“You may try to get these plans forwarded to them to have a look at,” said Jones. “They may be able to help you with some funding. The big thing is walkability, and one of the big things your plan addresses is walkability. They may be interested in partnering with you. They and Box Butte General Hospital are teaming up on that effort.”
Council Member Annora Bentley said that she was pleased with the plan overall, noting it would be a benefit to the community.
“I hope we can figure out a way to make most of that work,” said Bentley. “It’s beautiful, and I think it would really do a lot to enhance the western gateway.”
Mischnick reviewed some of the features of the plan with the council.
“A lot of it is landscaping with zero to low maintenance,” said Mischnick. “There’s also, panels, which would be kind of like laser cut or plasma cut steel signs. We’re kind of focusing on the historic aspect of Alliance where you get maybe a locomotive, old pictures from the air base, that you could cut into that steel and have it up on the side of the road so that people, as they go through, can look at these different placards placed for people to look at. Sidewalks that would link all the way from the softball complex down to the restaurants, all the way out to the hotels.”
Bentley noted the panels would help to mask undesirable areas. Mischnick also said they are working with the Nebraska Department of Transportation to implement a plan to improve lighting in the area.
City Manager Jeff Sprock noted there is a need to improve lighting on West Third Street, and that it could be something included in the budget for the electric department.
Bentley shared her gratitude for the CRA’s work in developing a plan to help improve Alliance.