The first phase of the Great Streets Project on South Grand is almost complete! The new bump-out curbs, widened sidewalks, and permeable concrete are scheduled for completion this month (September). Most of the new trash cans are already placed and in public use.In a meeting last month with the St. Louis Board of Public Services, one of the entities overseeing the construction project, the next phase of this project will be separated into two bids.

Phase 2A will begin shortly after Phase One and should include new trees, the remainder of the trash cans, and planter boxes for upcoming rain gardens.

The South Grand CID and Jennifer Florida, Alderman, 15th Ward are working to ensure that shade trees will be planted this fall. The new trees will be London Plane varieties, which grow in many urban areas in the United States. They have larger leaves than the previous trees, are more tolerant to weather extremes, and have root systems that acclimate easily to packed soil. This same tree can be found in nearby Tower Grove park.The new rain gardens will not be placed in the planter boxes until Spring 2012, to optimize the growth of the native plants, which are a stipulation in the original grant for the project. In the interim, there will be some planting, but at as reminder to the public, these plants are not permanent, and that portion of the project will be completed in the spring.

Phase 2A will also herald in the striping of pedestrian crosswalks over South Grand, and the striping of parallel parking spots along the street. This improvement is expected to increase motorist visibility of pedestrian walkways in addition to improving overall aesthetics. Pedestrian lights, benches, and bike racks are expected in Phase 2B to complete the overall project. The lights are designed to be dark-sky compliant, and energy efficient.

“We look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Rachel Witt, Executive Director for the South Grand CID, “I’d personally like to thank the businesses and community of South Grand for their patience and understanding for this project. The future will be bright for South Grand!”

by: Jennifer Florida, Alderman, 15th Ward