Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency Approves Contract for Main Avenue Redesign

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency on Monday approved a contract with Otak, Inc. to facilitate the redesign of Main Avenue in Historic Downtown Twin Falls. Otak will work with subcontractors, including JUB Engineers, to design new infrastructure, identify opportunities for property redevelopment, and encourage new private redevelopment on Main Avenue. Otak will utilize past reports and studies, such as the Leland Main Avenue report in 2007 and the Land Group’s Downtown Master Landscape Plan from 2008, as a foundation for the redesign and then will work with the public and downtown stakeholders to address aspects not included in the previous studies.  The Agency solicited requests for qualifications from public engagement design and engineering firms in the western United States and received seven responses. The agency then evaluated each of the firms to identify those that demonstrated success in public engagement, economic development, design, public infrastructure, as well as traffic and parking logistics. The firm that scored the highest was Otak Inc. based in Kirkland, Wash. The firm will have personnel in Downtown Twin Falls to oversee public engagement with the project and to work closely with downtown business owners and other members of the public. “This is a really exciting time for our downtown area because this infrastructure improvement project will lay the roots for future development and enhancements to make the heart of our community more vibrant,” said Leon Smith, Chairman of the Twin Falls urban Renewal Agency. “However, it will require very close and coordinated communication to minimize the impact that construction work will have on businesses and the public.” In May, the Agency approved the Old Towne/Downtown Infrastructure Subcommittee’s recommendations to spend up to $17 million in tax increment financing dollars to replace inadequate and deteriorating infrastructure, which includes water lines, sewer lines, streets, sidewalks and landscaping. The investment will allow for future development by providing such necessities as water pressure to serve businesses or residences located on the second-floor or higher. It will also replace some of the original infrastructure that is more than 100 years old. The agency agreed to an overall budget of $295,755 for Otak, which will cover design work, public involvement and visioning, economic development recommendations and analysis for market potential and redevelopment of properties, traffic and parking analysis to accommodate growth in vehicular, cycling and pedestrian traffic, as well as travel costs.  The design project is expected to begin within the month and will completed by end of May 2015.  The Agency is inviting anyone who would like to be involved in the visioning and redesign process to contact Melinda Anderson, City of Twin Falls Economic Development Director, at manderson@tfid.org