The downtown Sedalia Streetscape project, which began in 2007, is set to be completed this summer.

The Public Works Department plans to complete the final section from Fifth Street and South Ohio Avenue to Seventh Street and South Ohio Avenue. 

The Streetscape project has spanned over 10 years and has included things like new roads, sidewalks, traffic lights, water lines, and the archway located at South Ohio Avenue and Broadway Boulevard. 

“I’m excited that Streetscape is going to get finished,” Public Works Director Brenda Ardrey said. “I think we’re always excited when construction projects are finished and you can stand back and look and see how nice it looks. A lot of what we do are not projects that are visible to the eye.”

The final phase is set to start at the beginning of June, weather permitting, once the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival concludes. It is expected to take about 120 days. The project will cover the last section of South Ohio Avenue left to remodel. 

The final phase will be similar to the other ones, with new sidewalks, roads, waterlines, curbs, and traffic lights going in. 

“We start at the bottom, water lines all get replaced,” Ardrey explained. “Then any coal chutes or express elevators that would have been in the ground from before the 1920s probably. We’ll fill those and then we put new ADA compliant sidewalks and then the roadways, curbs, and gutters get improved as needed. There is a lot of work that will go into that.”

The Sedalia City Council approved $246,924 for the final phase last year. The city also received money from the Missouri Department of Transportation, which is part of the reason why the city is trying to get the project done. 

“That funding stream is no longer there,” Ardrey said. “The reason we are trying to get this piece finished is this was money that was provided to the city two or three years ago. We have to have the money obligated by September of this year and the project completed by September of next year.”

Ardery hoped to have finished the project sooner, but other things came up and the department ran into some problems early on getting into buildings to do structural reviews. Structural reviews identify where the old coal chutes and elevators are located. 

“Frequently those coal chutes are under the sidewalk so when we open the sidewalk up there it is, but they also extend through the foundations of the buildings,” Ardrey said. “So then you have to look and see if they have been bricked up or if they are open. You don’t want to start flowable filling a coal chute to find out that you are filling someone’s basement full of material.”

The Democrat previously reported about the historic street lights located at the intersection of Sixth Street and South Ohio Avenue that are a part of this final phase. The city will not be able to keep them in use at that location due to safety and cost. They don’t meet safety requirements and the department has had trouble finding parts for them since they are no longer in production. The plan is to preserve and repurpose the lights, most likely by putting them in a city park. 

“I’d love to keep things intact, but when it’s costing the community five or 10 times what it does to put the new one in and keep it in place, it just becomes very difficult to explain to the public that we are making those choices…” Ardrey said. “I think that we could probably do something nice with it there (in a park) and it would probably get more people noticing it there than it would sitting there where it is at.”

Ardrey said she hopes to continue updates like sidewalks and lighting on some of the side streets in the future. 

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 660-827-3000 ext. 1166.

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