SOUTH LAKEVIEW — Pedestrians traversing the vast Lincoln/Southport/Wellington intersection don't often stop to smell the roses.
A new "placemaking" project aims to change that.
Construction starts Monday to create the Lincoln Hub, which will include wooden planters and benches, along with a sidewalk polka-dot art installation inspired by Oriental rug designs. It will take about a month to extend street curbs and install the other elements of the project, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for May.
"We want the public space on Lincoln Avenue to foster more of a sense of community, rather than a path people use to get somewhere else," said Lee Crandell, director of the West Lakeview Special Service Area program, which works out of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber began working on plans to create the Lincoln Hub in late 2013. The public was invited to comment during two open houses or through online surveys.
"Residents overwhelmingly wanted this sense of a town square, a central hub. Businesses wanted traffic calming, they want people to notice their businesses and creating more of a pedestrian feeling," Crandell said.
The $175,000 project was originally set to start in the fall, but permit issues and bad weather led to delays, pushing construction back to the spring. Crandell stressed that the construction would cause "minimal disruption" and would not block any streets.
While the city plans to do streetscaping projects eventually, using money from the special service area — which levies an extra property tax on land within the area — means the project will be completed much sooner than the five or six years it would take for the city, Crandell said.
"If the city does it, it costs a couple million dollars. This is very affordable change. We have high impact for low costs before the city comes along and turns it into something permanent," Crandell said.
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