Developers at The Lawrence Group have slowly begun to narrow down suggestions for improvements along Fifth Street.
At Tuesday’s , in-progress plans included new apartment buildings and small businesses.
Consultant Project Manager for The Lawrence Group Craig Lewis said urban housing and small retail shops would compliment the residential areas on both sides of North Fifth Street.
“It really becomes a neighborhood center for these two neighborhoods. And so they can come to this area to get their services. They can walk down for all of the amenities of Main Street and the riverfront, in terms of green spaces and places to sort of shop and relax and do things,” Lewis said. “From a residential standpoint, those are the amenities that these folks want that want to live in those areas. Those are the things they want to see in walking distance.”
The plans would expand Fifth Street to four lanes, or an enhanced three lanes, from Boone’s Lick Road to Jackson Street. Lewis said parking could be moved from Fifth Street to side streets so residents and business owners have a safe, more efficient way to park.
Developers also suggested placing a roundabout at the intersection of Boone’s Lick and Fifth Street to help traffic flow.
Real Estate Broker Gerry Prinster said he is worried property owners will be forced to buy in to an investment that may not work out. He said he knows property owners in New Town and Dardenne Prairie who are not getting the business traffic they expected. Prinster said he doesn’t want to see the same thing happen to Fifth Street.
“I’m concerned that somebody comes in with an idea and tries to take an existing, very vibrant city, by the way, and tries to set some new ideals on it,” Prinster said. “Sometimes those work and sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t work, these people are gone.”
Lewis said plans for the area around could include restaurants, small shops, and possibly housing for senior citizens. Some Health Center staff also suggested a wellness center like the YMCA.
Sharon North owns across from the hospital, near the corner of First Capitol and Fourth Street. North said she is concerned that expanding Fifth Street’s lanes will encourage the city to widen streets nearby.
“My particular business is right up against the sidewalk as well as my next door neighbor’s,” North said. “So, if they choose not only to develop three to four lanes on this street, who’s to say they’re not going to bring in three lanes on First Capitol? I have an issue with that because I have no more room to give.”
Lewis said the design team wants to stress that these plans are subject to change. He said he is disappointed by the low public turnout at design meetings so far and would like to see more public input.
The design team will be available at the to hear your opinions from until June 23rd. You can find a more detailed schedule